One of Apple’s highest-grossing apps appears to be finding ways to get out from under the company. Netflix is testing out disabling the option to sign up for the streaming service through iTunes in 33 countries, according to TechCrunch. Instead, users who go to iTunes will be redirected to a mobile webpage to complete the sign-up process. This would help Netflix generate more money per iPhone and iPad user, because Apple collects a percentage of that recurring subscription if the user signs up through iTunes.
This could be a serious problem for Apple if more big iOS app makers try to find ways of charging users outside of Apple’s sphere of influence. Apple has been highlighting growth of its online services and especially with subscriptions. In the company’s recent third-quarter earnings call, it reported that online services revenue had jumped 28% from the previous year to $9.55 billion. Apple CEO Tim Cook said there were now 300 million paying subscribers for both its own internal services as well as third-party apps like Netflix.
And as a recent Business Insider story highlights, behind the scenes Apple has been pushing more app developers to go towards the subscription model as opposed to a single upfront app purchase fee. Now Apple needs to find ways to keep those iOS developers happy.