Chairman Klein and members of the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee-
My name is David Heinemeier Hansson, and I’m the CTO and co-founder of Basecamp, a small internet company from Chicago that sells project-management software and email services.
I first testified on the topic of big tech monopolies at the House Antitrust Subcommittee’s field hearing in Colorado just over a year ago, where I described the fear and loathing many small software makers have toward the app store duopoly.
How fees upwards of 30% of revenue, applied selectively, and in many cases capriciously, put an enormous economic burden on many small software businesses. How paired with the constant uncertainty as to whether the next software update will be rejected, or held for ransom, can put entire businesses in jeopardy.
I was then merely speaking on behalf of my many fellow small business owners. As someone who’d heard the tragic stories from app store duopoly victims, whispered out of fear of further retribution, for the better part of the last decade.
Little did I know that just six months later, Basecamp would be in its own existential fight for survival, after launching a new, innovative email service called HEY.com. Apple first approved our application to the App Store, only to revert themselves days later, after we had publicly launched to great critical acclaim. They demanded we start using their in-application payment system, such that they could take 30% of our revenues, or we’d be kicked off the App Store. A virtual death sentence for a new email service that was aiming to compete with the likes of Google’s Gmail and Apple’s own iCloud email hosting.
Keep reading “Testimony before the North Dakota Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee”