April 1, 2020
Apple has begun exempting select third-party streaming video services from paying a 30% App Store fee, or “Apple tax,” as SVODs such as Netflix characterize the surcharge.
Apple has long maintained that third-party services generating subscriptions through its iOS operating system be subjected to the fee. Now, it is letting Amazon Prime Video, Altice One and Canal+ skip paying it.
“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 applicable, single or zero sign-on,” Apple said in a statement, first reported by The Verge. “On qualifying premium video entertainment apps such as Prime Video, Altice One and Canal+, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription.”
The inclusion of French-based Canal+ is noteworthy considering Apple was recently fined $1.2 billion by French antitrust officials. Music streaming service Spotify currently has an antitrust lawsuit against Apple pending before the European Union.
The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission under President Trump have ramped up investigations of media/tech companies suspected of violating antitrust guidelines.
Indeed, Netflix reportedly advises iOS users to subscribe to its SVOD platform outside the App Store. Apple, in turn, has cut the fee in half to 15% to some services who members maintain subscriptions through the App Store for more than a year.