Apple has ordered LINE, a popular messaging service in Asian countries, to remove the ability to let users gift paid stickers from its iOS app.
The company writes:
As of 15:00 today, May 10, 2013, we regret to announce that we will be withdrawing the function to send purchased stickers as gifts to friends on the iPhone version of LINE.
We received a request directly from Apple who operates the AppStore, that this sticker gifting function will have to be withdrawn from the app, and we do apologize for the disappointment this may cause to all of you who are having fun sending stickers as gifts to your friends.
Functions withdrawn from the iPhone version of LINE:
・Gifting function of paid-for stickers to friends
・Purchasing of Coins necessary to use the gifting function
Niether LINE nor Apple have given a reason as to why the feature was axed. It seems that LINE’s gifting feature involved the trading of virtual coins, which could be a topic of concern for Apple. Though these coins were available as an in-app purchase, it appears that they were also available through other channels.
LINE notes that users who have more than 100 coins can continue using the feature until all the coins are exhausted. In a statement to TechCrunch, it has clarified that the company doesn’t plan to negotiate with Apple to reinstate the feature.