Earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Netflix removes the ability to pay for a subscription via iTunes in 33 countries as part of a limited time trial. Apple collects a 30% cut when someone signs up for Netflix with iTunes, and then 15% for each subsequent year. By eliminating the ability to pay throughout the app, Netflix significantly increases its profit margin without seriously disturbing its users.
It seems inevitable that this test will eventually be a permanent change (especially considering Netflix already removed in Android app payments earlier this year). But with over 130 million users, what use does Netflix have for what makes an incredibly expensive and meaningless partnership with Apple anyway?
There are many different reasons to forget and bear it regarding Apple's cut of sales on the App Store. Some apps do not have built-in user bases, and no-one would pay for the service if there was not a single click away. Netflix is one of the most popular subscription services of any kind on the planet ̵
Another reason to set up with Apple's 30% cut is because it interferes with the experience of using the app. If you've ever used Amazon Kindle app on an iPhone or iPad, you know how frustrating it may be to jump back and forth between the web and the app to buy a new book. As often as an app that requires the user to complete a transaction, Amazon's decision to deny Apple's cut will affect the way the app works.
Netflix, however, only asks you to register once. Once your credit card information is in stock and you have chosen a plan, you do not have to worry about navigating to your browser again (unless you want to change your plan or cancel your subscription). It's an extra step once and Netflix can end up saving millions.
Finally, it's worth noting (like TechCrunch did) that sooner or later Apple will launch its own streaming service. Why should Netflix help finance the competition? It may be difficult with the sign-up process, but it's hard to blame Netflix, one of the most popular apps on the App Store, to duplicate Apple.