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Apple now allows some video streaming apps to skip the App Store cut

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Apple on Wednesday confirmed the existence of a program for video streaming providers that allows those platforms to bypass their standard 30 percent fee in the app store by selling individual purchases, such as movie downloads and television show rentals. The show was first released today when Amazon updated its Prime Video iOS and Apple TV apps to allow in-app purchases for the first time. It is unclear how long the program has been in existence, but there are at least two other providers, Altice One and Canal +, that are currently participating, Apple confirmed.

In a statement given to The Verge, Apple said the program has been “established” for some time and designed for “premium” providers that allow those companies to use their payment methods and exist outside of the App’s standard financial ecosystem. Store. The requirement: Those platforms must be capable of integrating Apple’s core services, apps, and features, including AirPlay 2, Universal Search and Siri support, and single or zero login, among others.

It is for individual purchases only, and not for subscriptions. A new Prime Video subscription, for example, is still processed as a standard in-app purchase. Video games, like Epic Games’ Fortnite, don’t seem to qualify, despite attempts by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney to circumvent app store policies.

“Apple has an established program for premium subscription video entertainment providers to offer a variety of customer benefits, including integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, tvOS apps, universal search, Siri support and, where appropriate , single sign or zero-in, “the company said.” In premium video entertainment apps that qualify as Prime Video, Altice One and Canal +, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method linked to your existing video subscription. “

The program is a big problem for Apple for several reasons. The company has long maintained that its 30 percent app store fee is a mandatory requirement for doing business on iOS. Revenue is supposed to offset the costs of maintaining the App Store and enforcing its strict content, privacy, and security guidelines. It also ensures that the iOS platform remains a great money generator for Apple at a time when services are becoming a bigger and more vital part of its business now that the iPhone has matured.

Some app makers, including big companies like Netflix and Spotify, have loathed this deal for a long time, considering that the 30 percent cut as an “Apple tax” is no longer justified by the scale of the iOS platform. . Apple has gotten into controversial public disputes with some of those vendors in the past. Spotify, which used to charge more for new registrations on iOS but has since discontinued the option for new subscribers, filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union over the 30 percent cut. The complaint is currently under formal investigation.

Netflix, on the other hand, still advises customers to sign up for a subscription outside of the iOS app, writing in the sign-in window that “we know it’s a hassle.” Until today, Amazon has done the same for Prime Video, sending customers to a browser to buy full shows and movies, as well as rentals, before they can access them on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV device.

However, over the years, Apple has begun to loosen its terms and allow developers more flexibility. In 2016, the company began allowing subscription services to maintain an additional 15 percent of revenue if a customer registered and maintained a subscription through iOS for more than a year. This new program is a further extension of that approach, exempting certain partners from their 30 percent cut as long as they work closely together to help promote the Apple ecosystem.

More recently, Apple has faced claims that the App Store is a monopoly and mounting scrutiny by regulators over the past year since the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission began to take a closer look at Big. Tech for antitrust violations. Last month, Apple was fined $ 1.2 billion by French antitrust authorities for the restrictions it imposes on wholesalers.

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