Apple agreement with Amazon lets you rent movies through Prime Video

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Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, in Sun Valley, Idaho, United States, on July 12, 2019.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Amazon Prime Video app on iPhone and Apple TV now allows users to rent and purchase movies inside the app using a credit card on file with Amazon. It’s a big change.

For most apps, Apple’s App Store policies require that digital content be purchased and paid for through Apple’s payment system, which takes 30% of the purchase price. Amazon had previously declined to offer in-app purchases in its iOS apps.

“Apple has an established program for premium subscription video entertainment providers to offer a variety of customer benefits — including integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, tvOS apps, universal search, Siri support and, where applicable, single or zero sign-on,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC.

“On qualifying premium video entertainment apps such as Prime Video, Altice One and Canal+, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription.”

You can now rent videos on iPhone through the Amazon Prime Video app.

Kif Leswing | CNBC

Apple’s typical 30% cut from digital purchases has frustrated some developers who say that the fee hurts their margins. It’s one of the core parts of Spotify’s antitrust complaint with EU regulators, for example.

Altice One had been on the program since earlier this year. Canal+ customers have been able to use their card on file to buy or rent movies since 2018. Amazon’s participation in the program went live on Wednesday, according to Apple. An Amazon representative didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

The current limit to “premium subscription video” services may encourage developers who make game and other content to push for the same benefits.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been vocal about this issue in the past, for example. Fortnite, one of Epic’s titles, is monetized through in-app purchases.

“Epic Games wholeheartedly supports smartphone platforms and their digital stores opening up to payment processing competition,” Sweeney told CNBC.

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