Apple tried to stop Netflix from dropping in-app purchases, emails reveal
The ongoing Epic Games vs Apple trial which puts the latter’s App Store policies in the spotlight has revealed emails from the company making attempts to stop streaming giant Netflix from leaving the App Store. The emails from Apple dates back to December 2018 when Netflix dropped new users from signing up for a subscription from Netflix for iPhone app. Apple’s internal emails discuss various ways in which Apple and Netflix could find a middle ground and also suggest punitive measures for Netflix.
In an internal email, Apple’s Director of App Store Business Management Carson Oliver wrote if Apple should take punitive measures for Nelfix’s test to remove in-app purchase support in some markets.
“Do we want to take any punitive measures in response to the test (for example, pulling all global featuring during the test period)?” Oliver wrote. “If so, how should those punitive measures be communicated to Netflix?” Further, Oliver addresses a “voluntary churn issue” which was brought forth by Netflix, because of which it ran a test that would remove the ability to purchase the subscription via in-app purchase in a select number of markets for a two-month period.“We expressed our concern that running this test would create a bad customer experience for app users in those markets and limit co-marketing opportunities, including on-store featuring,” the email read.
During these talks, there was also talk of the two companies coming to a “middle-ground solution for the TV app,” referencing Netflix’s refusal to integrate with Apple’s TV app which did not come to fruition, 9to5 Mac reported.
This came at a time when Apple was less than a year away from launching its Apple TV+ platform. Apple email shows that it suggested various ways in which the two companies could work together like continued coordinated featuring across iOS and Apple TV, giving them the power to determine what shows it featured, or the Apple premium video program that gave access to premium subscription video entertainment providers.
Apple’s app store policy demands a 30 per cent cut of the total revenue from developers and restricts billing to take place through Apple. The tech giant has received criticism for the same from companies like Spotify, Facebook and Telegram among others. Last year, Apple kicked out Epic Games’ Fortnite from the App Store for Epic Games which launched a direct payment plan that gives the option to users to pay directly to Epic for Fornite’s in-app purchases. The ongoing trial is expected to last over three weeks and if Epic Games were to win, it could disrupt the economics of the $100 billion app market and provide a way to millions of developers for skipping 30 percent of their app sales to Apple.