One of the longstanding promises of Apple TV has been that Apple would treat all groups equally in approach to its set-top box TV service. There would be no favoritism or special offerings to larger companies. That said, a recently acquired email shows that may not be the case. The email, acquired by the House Antitrust Subcommittee showed that Apple was in negotiations with Amazon to offer a lower percent subscription fee if Amazon would bring its Prime Video service to Apple TV.
The supposed email acquired by the House Antitrust Subcommittee was revealed in relation to the recent Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook antitrust hearing on July 29, 2020, as reported by CNBC. In correspondence between Apple executive Eddy Cue and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, it is revealed that Apple offered Amazon a 15% revenue share deal on subscription fees if Amazon Prime Video would dedicate to Apple TV - a major breakaway from the 30% subscription fee offered to pretty much every other app on Apple TV. The email and the details of the negotiations that took place can be seen below.
It was in Summer 2017 that Tim Cook announced Amazon Prime Video would be coming to Apple TV. Though the above email does not signify whether the terms involved were agreed upon by both parties, it does fly in the face of Apple's supposed dedication to a level playing field for all apps, suggesting instead that major companies can negotiate better terms through the service. It makes one wonder if the recently launched Twitch on Apple TV could have also faced similar negotiations, as well as Disney+, which came to the service in November 2019.
The antitrust hearing on the major tech companies was arguably marred by partisan politics to say the least, but this email, among other things, reveals that Apple is not playing as level with its Apple TV service as they’d like anyone to believe.