Apple refunding Workflow purchases, questions arise

Bigger, and richer, companies buying out smaller ones is nothing new. Tech companies buying out popular startups is also nothing new. What's not always consistent is how such companies treat their new acquisitions and the crowd of users they inherit. Almost out of character, when Apple acquired iOS automation platform Workflow it made the formerly paid app free of charge. And now it is reportedly refunding those who have previously purchased the app. While a sign of good faith, it also raises questions on whether there is something afoot in Cupertino as well.

Apple isn't always seen as the champion of small developers. Sometimes it's even cast as a villain, as in the case of f.lux when iOS gained its own built-in night mode. Other times, it simply discontinues an app after integrating it into its own operating systems. So when Apple made Workflow free after it acquired the company, there was definitely much rejoicing among those who have always wanted to try out the app but shied away because of the price tag.

Now it seems Apple is doing one better. According to some users, they have received emails from Apple informing them that the $2.99 purchase, plus tax, is being refunded to their account. Some have reported not yet receiving such an email. Either the notice is still being rolled out or is limited to only those who purchased Workflow "recently".

On the surface, it definitely sounds great. It puts all users on the same level, so there will be no hurt feelings especially among those who did purchase the app. However, refunds can also sometimes be a sign of a soon to be discontinued product.

Apple has so far remained silent on that front and Workflow's developers, who are now Apple employees, are, of course, also mum. There is still a chance that Apple will integrate Workflow deeply into iOS, perhaps removing the need for a separate app. That, however, could also mean massive changes in the spirit, not to mention implementation, of one of the most popular power user apps on iOS.

VIA: Reddit