Digital Media

YouTube TV to halt Apple in-app payments, in latest spurning of Apple system


YouTube TV, the live-channel streaming service from Google’s video giant YouTube, is pulling out of Apple‘s in-app payment system. It would make Google the latest tech giant to withdraw from the payment system built into iOS apps, after the system has raised complaints for its fees and the built-in competitive advantage it could give Apple‘s own services. 

YouTube TV no longer supports in-app purchases on iOS,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. “Apple continues to be an important partner for YouTube, and our users can still enjoy their favorite content across iOS devices.”

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In customer service emails, YouTube TV told members that it would be ending payments through Apple on March 13. If an account pays its monthly bill via Apple, that account will be automatically canceled on the first billing date after March 13 unless a new form of payment is set up. 

And at $50 a month, YouTube TV is a pricey subscription to be forfeiting that fee. 

YouTube TV’s decision follows moves by both Netflix and Spotify, which years ago stopped accepting payments through iPhone or iPad apps. Generally speaking, Apple charges a 30% fee in the first year of a subscription for any memberships signed up through an iOS app. That fee drops to 15% after the first year. 

Apple has been facing intensifying scrutiny over how its App Store fees and policies treat services, like SpotifyNetflix and others, that compete with its own. The App Store is the biggest moneymaker in Apple’s services business, but the fees and rules governing apps have grown thornier as Apple launches more subscription services like Apple TV Plus and Apple Arcade

YouTube TV doesn’t directly compete with a current Apple service, though Apple’s own TV app does act as a storefront to sign up for various streaming options. Adding a wrinkle to the development: Google’s own Play Store also charges fees on in-app payments made in Android apps. 

Last year, Spotify lodged a complaint with Europe’s antitrust watchdog, saying Apple uses its App Store policies as a cudgel to stifle Spotify, the main competitor to Apple Music. Europe’s antitrust body, which has doled out billions in fines against Google, reportedly planned to launch a formal investigation into Spotify’s complaints

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