Apple and Samsung wipe slate clean with iTunes deal

7 Jan 2019353 Views

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Hand holding iPhone XS. Image: ifeelstock/Depositphotos

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In search of new revenue streams, Apple teams up with erstwhile rival Samsung in iTunes deal.

Apple and Samsung are two technology stalwarts that have traditionally maintained a rivalry over the past number of years, due to their similar target markets and device strategies.

This very rivalry is why many were shocked when Samsung yesterday (6 January) announced that it would add an app to its smart televisions that will let owners watch content bought on Apple’s iTunes platform in the coming months.

Change of tack from Apple

Many are considering this move as the beginning of a new revenue strategy from Apple in particular, involving the distribution of its services on devices not made in-house.

It is no secret that the Silicon Valley company’s Chinese hardware sales are weakening, not to mention the generally saturated ‘peak smartphone’ market taking its toll.

This move is a clear play for a new revenue stream in the face of its legacy cash sources altering in major ways. A manoeuvre from hardware and device-centric sales towards its Services category is looking increasingly likely.

Support for AirPlay 2

As well as the app for its smart TVs, which will allow users to play iTunes content, Samsung is also adding Apple’s AirPlay 2 software, which will allow iPhone users to stream content from their devices to Samsung TVs.

“We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung smart TVs,” said Eddy Cue, senior vice-president of internet software and services at Apple.

Neither firm has commented on whether the iPhone maker is paying any fees or a percentage made on the TVs under the new agreement. In November last year, the firm announced that its Apple Music streaming service was being made available on Amazon Echo smart speakers, even though the California-headquartered firm also sells a similar device, the HomePod.

Apple’s historically tight hold on its devices and apps may be loosening up somewhat. Its collaboration with Samsung is especially notable as the two firms spent many years in a legal patent war, after Apple accused the South Korean firm of lifting elements of the iPhone’s design. The case was settled last summer for an undisclosed sum.

Hand holding iPhone XS. Image: ifeelstock/Depositphotos

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com