Apple Makes Message App Line Ditch Paid-For Gifting Feature

For reasons that aren't quite fully understood yet, Apple has asked that the makers of messaging app Line dismantle a part of the app. Specifically it's said that the ability to send virtual items as gifts to other users must be removed from the app.

Line is very popular in its home market in Japan, and users seemed to like its gifting function. The gifts part of app worked via a virtual currency, whereby users paid with real cash for "Line Coins" and then paid for stickers that they sent to friends via this mechanism. Current thinking is that Apple disapproved of the way the virtual currency scheme circumvented its app store in-app purchasing policy, which sends 30% of the take to Apple.

Apple seems to have been policing its app store fairly aggressively recently, and has been said to be cracking down on "app discovery" apps like App Gratis that violate its policy on barring "apps that display apps other than your own for purchase or promotion". Apple's beef with these apps is that they are too similar too the App Store's function, and thus divert user attention or possibly confuse them. The App Store is fast approaching a landmark 50 billion downloads total.

[Image: By Flickr user kalleboo]

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