YouTube TV to quit Apple in-app payments in latest spurning of Apple system
Your YouTube TV subscription will be automatically canceled (and you lose your DVR) after March 13 if you pay through Apple.
Joan E. SolsmanFormer Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
YouTube TV, the live-channel streaming service from
video giant, is pulling out of Apple's in-app payment system as of March 13. It will make Google the latest tech giant to withdraw from the payment system built into
apps, as Apple's fees and other App Store policies have raised complaints that Apple's own services have a built-in competitive advantage.
"YouTube TV no longer supports in-app purchases on iOS," a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement Thursday. "
continues to be an important partner for YouTube, and our users can still enjoy their favorite content across iOS devices."
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.
YouTube TV's pullout is more drastic than Spotify's was. Spotify stopped letting new customers subscribe in iOS apps but it didn't cut off any existing accounts.
But YouTube TV, which has 2 million subscribers in the US, is going to automatically cancel each account paying through Apple on the first billing date after March 13. And unless the account re-enrolls with the same email address with Google billing, it will lose all settings, preferences and DVR recordings.
Generally speaking, Apple charges a 30% fee in the first year of a subscription for any memberships paid for via an iOS app. That fee drops to 15% after the first year.
At $50 a month, YouTube TV is a pricey subscription to be forfeiting that fee.
But adding a wrinkle to the development: Google's own Play Store also charges the same sort of fees on in-app payments made in Android apps, putting it in much the same position as Apple but in its own mobile-app ecosystem.
YouTube TV doesn't directly compete with a current Apple service. But a Wall Street Journal report Friday said Google was in talks with news publishers about paying them to contribute content for a Google news product; that Google news product could be competitive with Apple News.
Originally published Feb. 13. Update, Feb. 14: Adds more details of automatic cancellation, context.