Apple seems to have quietly removed the option to rent TV shows from iTunes Store and Apple TV on Friday.
Last year, when Apple introduced the second generation Apple TV, it adopted the rental model instead of the purchase model asÂ Apple TV 2G came with only 8GB storage. So Apple TV 2G users could rent first-run HDTV movies at a price of $4.99, while single episodes of TV shows in HD were available for $0.99.
Earlier in the month, Apple had releasedÂ Apple TV 4.3 Software Update, which allowed users to also purchase TV shows onÂ second generation Apple TV. It was probably sign of things to come.
Apple’s decision to kill the 99-cent TV show rentals and move to a purchase model for TV shows is not surprising as the rental model didn’t really take off because TV shows only from Fox and ABC were available for rentÂ as other networks didn’t like the idea of renting out TV shows only for $0.99.
The option to rent episodes of TV shows is no longer available on either the Apple TV, or when browsing content via Apple’s iTunes application. Previously, participating networks offered users the ability to rent a TV episode for 99 cents, with 30 days to begin watching and 48 hours to complete it.Â
As further evidence that the ability to rent TV shows has been removed completely, an Apple support document entitled “iTunes Store: How to rent TV shows,” has been removed from the Web. A Google cache of the page is still available.
Apple has issued the following statement to All Things Digital:
â€œiTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,â€ Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. â€œiTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.â€
What do you think about Apple’s move to kill 99-cent TV show rentals?
There has been a lot of stuff going on, when it comes to patents and Apple. On one side it is fighting a patent war with the likes of Samsung and Google (though indirectly), while on the other side there are a bunch of developers who are being sued by patent trolls like Lodsys and Kotool.
To give you a little background on the latter part, Lodsys claims that by using the In-AppÂ Purchases API, developers violate patents Lodsys owns. This is despite the fact that Apple has alreadyÂ licensed these patents. Fortunately for developers, some of whom don’t evenÂ possesÂ the resources to battle out Lodsys in court, Apple has taken a firm stance against this and plans to intervene in this case on behalf of developers.
Apple had filed a motion to intervene back in June this year, just 9 days after Lodsys went on a suing spree. This motion, unsurprisingly, was fiercely opposed by Lodsys citing various reasons, one of them being that Apple’s patent license does not extend to app developers. But lets face it why would anyone want to face a company with abundant legal resources and deep pockets in court.
The latest update in this saga, as reported by FOSS Patents, is that Apple has come up with a reply to Lodsys’ protests staying firm on its stance against Lodsys and backing up its developers. Apple has made several points addressing each of the reasons Lodsys had given out as to why Apple shouldn’t intervene.
Apple says that they have a supplier customer relationship with app developers, since they pay Apple a yearly fee inÂ exchangeÂ of products and services. Therefore, it argues, that Apple’sÂ licenseÂ should extend to its customers, i.e app developers. Lodsys intends to charge licensing fees to developers as well, which would be something like charging for the same product twice.
Apple goes on to say that, Lodsys’ legal notices have been sent out to dozens of app developing firms and individuals, some of whom have planned to boycott Apple’s products. This is indeed true to a certain extent, international app developers have been forcedÂ to pull their apps from the US App Store to stay away from lawsuits like these.
Apple also argues that even though sued companies may possess enough resources to fight the case (companies like EA and Rovio do) they do not have the technical information and expertise regarding how Apple’s technology works. It says that Lodsys fails to explain why Apple shouldn’t be involved in the case even though the central point of dispute is a license that Apple owns.
Overall FOSS Patents’Â Florian Mueller remains optimistic about the court granting Apple’s motion.
If you understand legal jargon and lawyer talk, here is the actual document filed by Apple defending itsÂ decisionÂ to intervene in the proceedings. And if you prefer detailed coverage about this in human readable language, head over to the source link.
It’s nice to see Apple saying “we’ve got your back” to developers. What’s your take on the whole situation? Â Shout out in the comments section.