When Apple News initially became available and could include content from any RSS feed, I made my blogs available in Apple News. Eventually Apple deleted them from Apple News because I did not post as frequently as Apple later decided to require.
To be clear, I never asked that my blogs be featured or even discoverable in Apple News. I never asked for or even wanted Apple to highlight content from my blogs. I just wanted my website visitors to be able to click on a Subscribe in Apple News link on my website to read it through Apple News. Just like one can do in any RSS reader.
The HEY situation is analogous. Basecamp is not asking Apple to promote HEY. Basecamp does not need Apple to host HEY app downloads. Basecamp is explicitly asking not to use Apple’s payment processing system. Basecamp just wants to distribute a native iOS app for HEY. Apple made the App Store the only mechanism for doing so in the name of security. Basecamp chose to distribute the HEY Mac app itself, without the Mac App Store.
For some developers, the benefits of distributing through the App Store are worth the cost. For others, the App Store is just a burden. Apple’s requirements for simply distributing an iOS app are absurd and the cost is too high.