Apple wanted Netflix to continue offering in-app purchase support
Internal emails and presentations revealed as part of the Apple-Epic Games lawsuit reveal Apple wanted Netflix to continue using the in-app payments system.
Apple executives were keen on giving Netflix preferential treatment to ensure the streaming service does not skip in-app purchases, according to internal emails revealed during the Apple-Epic Games lawsuit.
According to The Verge (via 9to5mac), Apple executives proposed to push Netflix at the company's retail stores, use some part of the App Store commission to push search ads, and bundle Netflix with Apple services. Things clearly did not work between the two as Netflix ended up removing the in-app subscription option to avoid Apple's cut.
“They would like to run the test in May and June and estimate this test would impact 1.9% of annual in-app signups. We expressed our concern that running this test would create a bad customer experience of app users in those markets and limit co-marketing opportunities, wrote Director of App Store Business Management Carson Oliver in the run-up to Netflix's trials for removing in-app subscriptions.
The report further reveals that Apple executives also contemplated punishing Netflix if it went ahead with the test. Apple wanted to remind Netflix of the support provided to the streaming platform. It includes pushing Netflix in the editorial section of the Apple App Store.
It appears that Netflix managed to escape impact as the streaming service continued to gain new subscribers worldwide. As of January 2021, the platform gained 200 million subscribers.
The internal emails reveal that Apple's App Stores are not hard and fast, and special exceptions are made. Apple in April last year confirmed it had a programme for streaming video partners to bypass its 30% App Store fee. The programme was made public after Amazon updated its Prime Video iOS and Apple TV apps to allow in-app purchases for the first time.