Apple kills successful Kickstarter campaign, forces refund
Apple has put the kibosh on a successful Kickstarter campaign, forcing the company behind it to refund backers their money.
Back in early September, design firm Edison Junior raised $139,170 from 1,000 backers to build POP, a sleek charger capable of providing power to multiple devices, regardless of its manufacturer, at the same time.
Two weeks after the Kickstarter campaign closed, Apple announced the release of the iPhone 5, which requires a Lightning charger instead of the 30-pin one that has come with every Apple device since 2003. POP's design needed to be modified in order to properly function with the new iPhone.
Edison Junior applied to Apple to become a third-party manufacturer to cater to the new Lightning plug. Apple rejected the offer. Apple said it will not be allowing any product to use the Lightning charger alongside any other type of charger, including its own.
Instead of going ahead with building POP without the Lightning technology, Edison Junior decided to bite the (very expensive) bullet and refund everyone's money.
"As we struggled with Apple we realized that Kickstarter did not have a mechanism for refunding everyone their money," Edison Junior CEO Jamie Siminoff wrote in a Kickstarter update Thursday. "Since we are not willing to compromise and build a crappy product, refunding the money is the only acceptable thing to do."
Apple's decision will cost Edison Junior over $11,000. That sum comes from the credit card and Kickstarter fees—3 and 5 percent, respectively— from the $139,170 raised.
"Today we asked Kickstarter for the 5% fee they collected based on the circumstances," Siminoff added. “[H]owever regardless of their decision YOU WILL RECEIVE 100% OF YOUR MONEY BACK.
"We don't believe in selling a substandard, compromised product that only satisfies the needs of a few backers, as that was not our promise."
Since Kickstarter doesn't have a system in place to issue refunds, Edison Junior has created Christie Street, its own crowdfunding site to resolve the issue.
"Built from the ground up around product, Christie Street is designed to handle needs that can arise from products—such as refunds—in order to prevent compromised products from being delivered," noted Siminoff.
As per Apple, he had less than flattering words to say about the technology giant.
"We are pissed," he told BetaBeat. " I think they are being a bunch of assholes, and [I] think they're hurting their customers."
Predictably, Kickstarter has stayed quiet regarding the controversy. The company has recently found itself in the midst of two disputes concerning patent infringement, and in both cases, the company chose not to comment.
As of press time, Kickstarter had not returned a request for comment.
UPDATE: Ars Technica reports that Apple has changed its guidelines to allow Lightning and 30-pin connectors on the same product, but the change hasn't affected the decision to cancel the project and issue refunds to backers.
Photo via POP/Kickstarter