A group of news publishers sent a letter to Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook seeking similar deal terms in its App Store that Amazon.com gets for its video-streaming service.
Apple takes 30% of the revenue from most subscriptions in its App Store, then 15% after the first year. But in late July, a congressional antitrust panel disclosed internal emails showing a more-favorable deal struck between Apple services chief Eddy Cue and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. They agreed to a 15% revenue share for Amazon Prime Video customers who signed up through the iPhone app and no revenue share for users who already subscribed via Amazon or elsewhere, the emails showed.
“We would like to know what conditions our members — high quality digital content companies — would need to meet in order to qualify for the arrangement Amazon is receiving for its Amazon Prime Video app in the Apple App Store,” Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, wrote in the letter to Cook. Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Digital Content Next represents several news outlets that rely on subscriptions for much of their revenue, including The New York Times, News Corp., which owns the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. The group also represents Bloomberg LP, owner of Bloomberg News.
Earlier this year, Apple said a select group of streaming-video services could use their own payment method, versus Apple’s billing service, therefore avoiding giving Apple a cut of their sales.
More developers have begun to complain about Apple’s App Store fees and rules, saying they are unfair and favor Apple’s own services.
As part of an antitrust inquiry into the company, Justice Department lawyers are scrutinizing the Apple rules that require many app makers to use the company’s payment system.
“We treat every developer the same,” Cook said during the July congressional antitrust hearing that revealed the special deal with Amazon.