YouTube TV, the live-channel streaming service from Google’s video giant YouTube, 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 iOS 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‘s decision follows moves by both Netflix and Spotify, which years ago stopped accepting payments through iPhone or iPad apps. Apple has been facing intensifying scrutiny over how its App Store fees and policies treat services 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 and .
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 that had previously.
But YouTube TV is going to automatically cancel each account paying through Apple on the first billing date after March 13. 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.