Matt ("WordPress" ) Mullenweg, Apple whistleblower

"The app review process is usually good but occasionally capricious in a way that engenders fear."

Quoth Twitter:

Matt Mullenweg @photomatt FWIW, @automattic's boosted post feature on @tumblr (called Blaze), which is in spirit like Facebook's, was rejected until we implemented it as IAP [in-app purchase] and gave the 30% cut... I'm also scared sharing something like this because future app updates could be held up or blocked, or just go in a lower priority queue. The app review process is usually good but occasionally capricious in a way that engenders fear.

Sal Rodriguez @sal19 · Aug 12 SCOOP: In the years before iOS 14.5, Apple and Facebook held several meetings discussing possible arrangements that would have earned the iPhone maker a slice of the social media company’s revenue, including an ad-free, subscription version of Facebook. see The Secret Talks That Could Have Prevented the Apple vs. Facebook War

My take: The consensus on Techmeme -- where Rodriquez' scoop in the Journal is the talk of the town -- is that Mullenweg is a hero and Tim Cook a hypocrite.


  1. 5 million apps are submitted for review to Apple‘s App Store every year. A staff of 500 human reviewers approve 100,000 a week. No doubt they have bots assisting. I can see where an oversight might occur in that workflow. <1% of rejections are appealed.
    Link to follow.

    August 13, 2022
  2. Steven Philips said:
    Is he “blowing the whistle” on Apple or himself as a developer trying to avoid paying the store that sells his product? Or is he just blowing?
    There’ are a lot of non thinking people who can’t tell who the real hypocrites are. It gives us our current political mess.

    August 13, 2022
  3. Rodney Avilla said:
    Apple not wanting to pursue Google’s business model while allowing Google to function on the iPhone is not contradictory. Not at all. Apple does not claim that Google’s model is illegal, just needs to be carried out WITH the customer’s awareness and consent. Nor is it Apple’s responsibility to actively try to block any legal business model, just because Apple doesn’t use that model.
    And lastly, to assume that Apple was planning on making money off of users’ data without their consent is not consistent with what Apple has done in the area of privacy and customer awareness and consent.

    August 13, 2022
  4. David Emery said:
    I can see Apple middle managers and even senior managers listening to a Facebook proposal. I canNOT see Apple senior leadership accepting that proposal. It might be Apple was trying to see if there was space in Facebook at the time to get them off their invasive business model. Look at how Apple manipulated the telcos with the iPhone, moving them off their business model.

    August 13, 2022
  5. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Too bad Victor Hugo isn’t around, as he could write a 2.0 sequel to “Les Miserables” with Matt Mullenweg as a hero cut from the very same cloth as Jean Valjean. While Matt fancies himself as another in a long line of victims of the 30% “Apple Tax”, he’s just another self absorbed and opinionated App Developer who believes that a free ride on the iOS platform is his entitled birthright.

    August 13, 2022
    • Steven Philips said:
      It’s a far far better thing than he has ever done! /s/

      August 14, 2022
  6. Rodney Avilla said:
    Mullenweg, Apple whistleblower

    1st, Mr M is not an employee, 2nd Apple is not doing anything illegal (charging a reasonable fee for services rendered).

    This does not appear to be a legitimate use of the term whistleblower.

    August 14, 2022
    • Fred Stein said:
      Really good point. Thanks.

      Likewise, Rodriquez’ WSJ piece is not a scoop. Almost all sources are not anonymous. Most of the rest is rehash.

      And then there’s distortion. On-line ad revenue is growing. Facebook is shrinking because users are getting tired of it. ATT is only one factor.

      August 14, 2022

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