Apple has reportedly relaxed a controversial policy whereby it has taken a 30% cut of purchases of things like movies and TV shows that are executed using its technology hardware.
The revised program for in-app purchasing was never announced by Apple. But it was spotted by Amazon Prime Video users recently when they noticed they are now able to buy and rent movies directly through the Amazon Prime Video app on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV boxes and other Apple devices.
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Previously, companies including Amazon and Netflix directed Apple device users to pay for their services—and products sold through their services—directly on their websites, or through non-Apple devices. If you’re an Apple TV user, for example, you can watch your Netflix or Amazon Prime Video subscriptions on your OTT device. But you’d have to sign up for these services somewhere else. Ditto for movies and shows you rent and buy through Amazon's transactional store.
This week, Bloomberg reported that Apple had actually changed its policy as it relates to “premium video purchases,” and that companies including Altice USA and Vivendi SA’s Canal+ were already taking advantage of the policy change before Amazon did.
“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. "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.”
It remains to be seen if Amazon will allow its Fire TV users to purchase and rent movies and TV shows through the Apple TV app.
But for the broader technology ecosystem, it represents a kind of further thawing of the cold war that exists between the video giants. For example, Amazon and Google already having recently relaxed device and app restrictions that existed between their respective devices and apps.