News Publishers Demand Same Sweetheart App Store Deal that Apple Gave Amazon

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an event to announce new products Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

News industry body Digital Content Next has contacted Apple requesting more information on how its members can achieve the same special App Store revenue deal that e-commerce giant Amazon has enjoyed since 2017.

CNBC reports that a group of major news publishers have joined the growing number of companies unhappy with Apple’s App Store policies which they claim promote anti-competitive practices. The trade body Digital Content Next (DCN) which represents publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, News Corp, and CNBC wrote to Apple asking how its members could qualify for a special deal similar to the one Amazon received in 2017.

Apple offered Amazon a special deal in 2017, only making the e-commerce giant pay a 15 percent fee on customer subscriptions for Amazon’s Prime Video app via the App Store. Other developers pay a 30 percent fee for most in-app purchases.

DCN CEO Jason Kint said in a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook: “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.”

Apple declined to comment on DCN’s letter when contacted by CNBC. Apple has previously defended the Amazon deal stating that its part of a program for “Premium” video subscription services to offer integration with core Apple services, apps, and features.

“Nearly all of DCN’s members offer apps in the Apple App Store and, as noted above, many offer subscription-based access to a wide variety of content,” Kint said. “The terms of Apple’s unique marketplace greatly impact the ability to continue to invest in high-quality, trusted news and entertainment particularly in competition with other larger firms.”

DCN Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Chris Pedigo said in a separate blog post that news organizations are turning to subscriptions to generate income as revenue from advertising has “cratered over the last decade.”

“The monopolistic behavior of big tech puts a wide range of industries — not the least of which is the news industry — at a distinct disadvantage,” Pedigo said. “It is laudable that EU and American regulatory bodies are digging in and uncovering these anti-competitive behaviors. Talking trust is not enough. We need to level the playing field and transparency is a critical first step.”

Breitbart News recently reported that a legal battle between Fortnite developer Epic Games and tech giant Apple has continued to escalate, with Apple now threatening to cut Epic off from the developer platform for Mac and iOS at the end of this month.

As Breitbart News has previously reported, the lawsuit stems from Epic Games’ refusal to use Apple’s in-app payment system which takes a percentage of profits from developers. Read more at Breitbart News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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