News publishers press back against Apple over terms for app store

FILE PHOTO: Apple logo displayed in the Apple Store at The Marche Saint Germain in Paris, France July 15, 2020. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

(Reuters) – Major news publishers seek more favorable terms from Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) on orders, the iPhone maker collects from them on payments made through its app store, according to a letter posted Thursday by a merchant.

Digital Content Next (DCN), represented by New York Times Co (NYT.N), the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other publishers posted the letter, addressed to Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, on their website.

Apple, which typically takes a cut that varies between 15% and 30% of first-time news publishers subscribing through in-store apps, has a reduced rate for Inc (AMZN.O).

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing last month, Cook said the reduced rate was available to any developer who met certain conditions.

News publishers must qualify for the same terms offered to Amazon for their Prime Video app in Apple’s app store, DCN Chief Executive Officer Jason Kint suggested in Thursday’s letter to Cook. (

“I request that you clearly define the terms and conditions that Amazon meets for its terms, so that DCN member companies that meet these terms and conditions can be offered the same agreement.”

The letter cited communications between Apple veteran Eddy Cue and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in which the two companies agreed on a 15% revenue-sharing share for new customer sign-ups for Prime Video via the app store. The email appeared during the commission’s hearing on July 29.

The latest missive comes days after Apple removed Epic Games ‘Fortnite’ from its app store for breach of in-app payment policies, prompting Epic to file federal lawsuits challenging the rule.

Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Report by Neha Malara in Bengaluru and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Written by Anirban Sen; Edited by Shinjini Ganguli

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