Apple Discussed ‘Punitive Measures’ Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

As the Epic Games v. Apple trial advances into its third day, Apples internal documents and interactions with different companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the negotiations that Apple has actually had around the App Store.
Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped using in-app subscription alternatives for new or resubscribing members and instead began needing them to sign up for Netflix outside of the App Store in order to prevent paying Apples 30 percent cut. As it turns out, Apple executives were unhappy with Netflixs decision, and made attempts to persuade Netflix to keep in-app purchases readily available.
The subject hasnt yet been brought up in the live in-person trial thats going on today, but 9to5Mac highlighted emails in between Apple executives talking about Netflixs choice. When Apple found out that Netflix was A/B testing the removal of in-app purchases in particular countries, Apple began rushing to stop it.
Apples App Store Business Management Director Carson Oliver sent an e-mail in February 2018 describing Netflixs screening strategies and asked his fellow App Store executives whether Apple should take “punitive steps” versus Netflix.
Do we want to take any punitive measures in action to the test (for examples, pulling all global featuring throughout the test period)? If so, how should those punitive steps be communicated to Netflix? (sic).
The e-mails do not make it clear if Apple did indeed take any actions to restrict including throughout Netflixs testing, but Netflix did continue with the A/B test and found it worthwhile. Ahead of when Netflix pulled in-app purchase alternatives, Apple developed a whole discussion to convince Netflix to continue to use in-app subscription register.
Because it was greater than those who signed up by means of the web, Netflix was concerned about voluntary churn levels on iOS. In a nutshell, iOS users who subscribed to Netflix through in-app purchases were cancelling their Netflix accounts at a higher rate, a problem that Apple worked to solve for Netflix.
Other Netflix issues included free trial abuse (which Apple dealt with), un-grandfathering (raising prices on users locked in to a select rate), and offering promotions (wasnt possible to use discounts on iOS). Apple internally went over ways to fix these problems for Netflix to motivate the business to stick with in-app purchases.
Apple likewise incentivized Netflix by explaining how much dedicated including Netflix was getting. Apple said that Netflix was featured more than any other partner, something that Apple was willing to continue doing.
Apple proposed continued collaborated including throughout iOS and Apple TELEVISION, advertisements promoting Netflix, App Store e-mail campaigns, including performance data, an “Apple TV bundle” and choose video partner program benefits such as the alternative to up-sell non-IAP consumers and billing versatility to un-grandfather and cancel membership charges.
Apple also talked about bundle offers for Netflix and an Apple service along with carrier and payment partners for co-funded subscription offers, in addition to in-store marketing for Netflix, but none of these steps eventually persuaded Netflix to stick to in-app purchases.
Today, there is no in-app purchase option for Netflix, and those who want to view Netflix on an iPhone or an iPad should first register on the internet, with Apple gathering no money. Netflix is also not permitted to direct customers where to register, however, and the splash screen simply says “You cant sign up for Netflix in the app.”.
The Epic Games v. Apple trial is anticipated to last for roughly three weeks in total, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives set to affirm in the coming weeks.