Netflix is testing a new app for Apple smartphones and tablets that lets the streaming giant avoid the charges Apple applies to companies using its app store to sell subscription-based services.
As first reported by Indian tech news site Gadgets 360, Apple is testing in 30 countries an app that gives customers the option to go directly to Netflix via their iOS mobile device web browser and sign up for the streaming service with no middleman.
“We are constantly innovating and testing new signup approaches on different platforms to better understand what our members like,” Netflix said in a statement. “Based on what we learn, we work to improve the Netflix experience for members everywhere.”
Apple’s app store generated $11.5 billion, much of it coming through money billed to companies that distribute their apps through the virtual store.
When a customer makes an in-app purchase of a Netflix subscription—or any other service—through Apple’s app store, the tech giant with the trillion-dollar market cap recoups 30% of the first-year subscription price, and 15% for subsequent years. Some critics of this policy have referred to the charge as a "tax."
Notably, Apple restricted in May the ability for customers to sign up within its app store for subscriptions through Google Play. Apple now tells those customers to go directly to Google Play over the internet.