Leading Australian e-tailer Millennius has stopped selling iPhones to protest against Apple’s decision to remove the blockchain.info app from its app store.
Millennius is a key proponent of bitcoin, and has called for wider deployment of the currency in the past. The company argues that bitcoin could lower prices online as payments are cheaper than traditional credit card payments and these savings could be passed down to consumers.
The blockchain.info app was the only bitcoin-related app in Apple’s walled garden of delights, and it had more than 120,000 users. The backlash on social media has been huge and some iPhone owners even smashed their phones in protest.
“Apple seems to have betrayed its own ideals, and those who believed in the brand,” said Millennius founder Pierre Boutros.
“Millennius has decided to suspend sales of the current versions of the iPhone [4, 4s, 5, 5c and 5s] until Bitcoin wallets allowed are back on the Apple app store.”
Boutros admits that the move will hurt his company’s bottom line. He is calling for other bitcoin-friendly iPhone retailers to do the same, thus applying pressure on Apple to reverse its decision.
Ironically, smartphones are the best selling product sold for bitcoins via Millennius. In addition, the company points out that in the six months since it started accepting bitcoin and litecoin, it has not had a single fraudulent transaction.
“This has only been done in response to Apple as it has so poorly communicated its reasons for such a decision,” Boutros said.
“We can only see the decision as hostile towards the bitcoin ecosystem, and therefore need to take action just like those in the community who have made their switch away from iPhones.”
Android to the rescue
Apple’s position on bitcoin is clear, as is its restrictive App Store policy. The company’s guidelines been around for years, and are unlikely to change despite the backlash. Blockchain has issued a statement which was highly critical of Apple, but quick to praise rival Google.
Google’s Play Store remains wide open: there’s no routine vetting, and there are already dozens of bitcoin apps for Android devices.
Blockchain also pointed out that in removing its iOS app, Apple has eliminated competition using their monopolistic position in the market in a “heavy handed” manner.
While there is no sign that cryptocurrency supporters will boycott Apple, the move might have a slight impact on sales and Apple’s reputation. In other words, it could drive a number of consumers to competing platforms – namely Android.
Of course, another alternative for iOS fans are web-based wallets, like the HTML5/JS-based Coinpunk.