Apple's loosening of App Store fees lets Amazon enable purchases, rentals in Prime Video a...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2020
After years of going without, Amazon's Prime Video app this week finally added support for in-app purchases and rentals of video content on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The new capability arrives as Apple announced a program that exempts certain video subscription services from a statutory 30% cut of in-app purchases.

Amazon's Prime Video has never supported in-app purchases on tvOS and iOS. Now it does.
Amazon's Prime Video has never supported in-app purchases on tvOS and iOS. Now it does.


Previously, the Prime Video app forwarded users to a separate web page in a browser window to make purchases, a roundabout solution designed to avoid Apple's 30% cut of in-app purchases. That changed today when Amazon integrated in-app purchase options that allow users to browse, rent and buy new content within the Prime Video app. Going forward, a popup message will notify users of the change when they first open the app.

The online retail giant is apparently taking advantage of an "established" Apple initiative that affords special App Store dispensations for video apps.

"Apple has an established program for premium video subscription providers to offer a variety of consumer benefits. These include integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, Siri support, tvOS apps, universal search, and where applicable, single or zero sign-on," Apple said in a statement to AppleInsider. "On qualifying apps such as Amazon 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."

Typically, Apple charges a 30% fee for all in-app purchases and subscriptions, with the figure dropping to 15% on subscriptions over a year old. To offset the effective App Store surcharge, some app makers -- like Google and Spotify -- charge slightly more for subscriptions and in-app purchases processed by Apple.

The Verge reported on Amazon's Prime Video addition earlier today.

The new purchase behavior is now available in the Prime Video app for iOS, iPadOS and tvOS, each of which saw server-side updates to introduce a new Store tab in which users can rent or buy content, including films that have launched on digital early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated with statement from Apple.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    https://twitter.com/modestproposal1/status/1245454329999503360?s=21

    Likely from a Bloomberg terminal:

    *APPLE SAYS HAS PROGRAM THAT LETS VIDEO APPS USE OWN PAYMENTS
    *APPLE SAYS HAS DEALS WITH AMAZON PRIME, ALTICE ONE, CANAL+
    *APPLE'S PROGRAM LETS SOME VIDEO APPS AVOID 30% CUT TO APPLE
  • Reply 2 of 13
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Apple wants regulators off its back. I suspect Spotify and Netflix will get this treatment next. 

    Since Apple allows “reader “apps whats the difference between apps not offering IAP and being able to offer IAP using their own payment system? The fact that Netflix and Spotify removed IAP indicates they didn’t consider it detrimental to their business. I doubt there’s a large number of people not subscribing to those services because they don’t offer IAP. People just sign up on the web. Being able to do it in-app will be more convenient. I hope Apple does this for Kindle too.
    elijahglkrupp
  • Reply 3 of 13
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,720member
    I'm glad Apple are relaxing this rule, but I wish they'd chosen to make it universal, or given preferential treatment to companies that are a bit less icky.
    Beats
  • Reply 4 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,526member
    Wait in order for them to get a fee reduction they have to support all Apple features? I'd say that's fair.
    jeffharrislkrupp
  • Reply 5 of 13
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,624member
    This is a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.  Apple needed better integration with 3rd party Apps to make them comparable to Android (to push their platform).

    The Apps that offer the integration will get the 30% waved.  Pretty much everyone will eventually.  I’m sure there’s some kind of data sharing arrangement.

    The quote below shows what Apple is interested in.
    “These include integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, Siri support, tvOS apps, universal search, and where applicable, single or zero sign-on,"
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,526member
    This is a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.  Apple needed better integration with 3rd party Apps to make them comparable to Android (to push their platform).

    The Apps that offer the integration will get the 30% waved.  Pretty much everyone will eventually.  I’m sure there’s some kind of data sharing arrangement.

    The quote below shows what Apple is interested in.
    “These include integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, Siri support, tvOS apps, universal search, and where applicable, single or zero sign-on,"

    Except I bet Netflix will still make excuses while using Apples platforms.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,391member
    This is great news for users, and also for services not named in the article that might take advantage of it, including several I subscribe to (like Criterion Channel and Curiosity Stream). Most apps on tvOS have all or most of these features already by virtue of being on tvOS, with rare exceptions (looking at you, PlutoTV), so qualifying for this initiative should be pretty painless for many.

    Incidentally, Curiosity Stream (a non-fiction and documentary service) has cut their YEARLY subscription to $12 for a limited time -- I would like to think AI readers would be interested, and encourage you to check it out.
    kuduwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,739member
    Apple wants regulators off its back. I suspect Spotify and Netflix will get this treatment next. 

    Since Apple allows “reader “apps whats the difference between apps not offering IAP and being able to offer IAP using their own payment system? The fact that Netflix and Spotify removed IAP indicates they didn’t consider it detrimental to their business. I doubt there’s a large number of people not subscribing to those services because they don’t offer IAP. People just sign up on the web. Being able to do it in-app will be more convenient. I hope Apple does this for Kindle too.

    Not sure if Netflix or Spotify would benefit. Netflix has nothing to purchase, once you've subscribed. Except maybe a subscription upgrade. Not as familiar with Spotify, not sure if they offer indivudual purchases or rentals for anything. I get why Prime and the cable companies trying sell on demand programs would want this.
    edited April 2020 netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    mike1 said:
    Apple wants regulators off its back. I suspect Spotify and Netflix will get this treatment next. 

    Since Apple allows “reader “apps whats the difference between apps not offering IAP and being able to offer IAP using their own payment system? The fact that Netflix and Spotify removed IAP indicates they didn’t consider it detrimental to their business. I doubt there’s a large number of people not subscribing to those services because they don’t offer IAP. People just sign up on the web. Being able to do it in-app will be more convenient. I hope Apple does this for Kindle too.

    Not sure if Netflix or Spotify would benefit. Netflix has nothing to purchase, once you've subscribed. Except maybe a subscription upgrade. Not as familiar with Spotify, not sure if they offer indivudual purchases or rentals for anything. I get why Prime and the cable companies trying sell on demand programs would want this.
    My point is, Apple allows reader apps so they might as well allow those apps to offer IAP without giving Apple a cut.  What’s the difference to Apple if I buy a kindle book via Safari or via the kindle app? Or is Apple’s MO to make it less convenient for consumers so they’ll use/buy Apple’s version instead? 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,739member
    mike1 said:
    Apple wants regulators off its back. I suspect Spotify and Netflix will get this treatment next. 

    Since Apple allows “reader “apps whats the difference between apps not offering IAP and being able to offer IAP using their own payment system? The fact that Netflix and Spotify removed IAP indicates they didn’t consider it detrimental to their business. I doubt there’s a large number of people not subscribing to those services because they don’t offer IAP. People just sign up on the web. Being able to do it in-app will be more convenient. I hope Apple does this for Kindle too.

    Not sure if Netflix or Spotify would benefit. Netflix has nothing to purchase, once you've subscribed. Except maybe a subscription upgrade. Not as familiar with Spotify, not sure if they offer indivudual purchases or rentals for anything. I get why Prime and the cable companies trying sell on demand programs would want this.
    My point is, Apple allows reader apps so they might as well allow those apps to offer IAP without giving Apple a cut.  What’s the difference to Apple if I buy a kindle book via Safari or via the kindle app? Or is Apple’s MO to make it less convenient for consumers so they’ll use/buy Apple’s version instead? 

    I don't disagree. I think it's a good thing. However, the benefit to Apple is more participants in Apple TV+ and I don't see any reason why this particular change would encourage Netflix to participate within Apple TV+. Currently, among the services I use a lot, they are the only outlier.
    netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,454member
    mike1 said:
    Apple wants regulators off its back. I suspect Spotify and Netflix will get this treatment next. 

    Since Apple allows “reader “apps whats the difference between apps not offering IAP and being able to offer IAP using their own payment system? The fact that Netflix and Spotify removed IAP indicates they didn’t consider it detrimental to their business. I doubt there’s a large number of people not subscribing to those services because they don’t offer IAP. People just sign up on the web. Being able to do it in-app will be more convenient. I hope Apple does this for Kindle too.

    Not sure if Netflix or Spotify would benefit. Netflix has nothing to purchase, once you've subscribed. Except maybe a subscription upgrade. Not as familiar with Spotify, not sure if they offer indivudual purchases or rentals for anything. I get why Prime and the cable companies trying sell on demand programs would want this.
    My point is, Apple allows reader apps so they might as well allow those apps to offer IAP without giving Apple a cut.  What’s the difference to Apple if I buy a kindle book via Safari or via the kindle app? Or is Apple’s MO to make it less convenient for consumers so they’ll use/buy Apple’s version instead? 
    Why should Apple let other entities use its platform for free? So Apple is not allowed to charge for its services?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,565member
    Gruber has excellent coverage on what happened here and why:

    https://daringfireball.net/2020/04/amazon_apple_prime_video
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,565member
    Not that it matters much — compare movie rental prices on new releases and they’re exactly the same. Probably required by the studios. 
    watto_cobra
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