Unless iTunes shuts down the Netflix app they will be selectively permitting one of their vendors to blatantly violate their Terms of Service which explicitly states that anyone that attempts to circumvent Apple's ability to profit from subscription services within their store will have their apps removed.

I'm curious if there's any legal restriction on a company deciding selectively who they enforce their terms on and whom they don't.

  • 2
    I don't think there is any rule that says that they can't strike some kind of bargain specific to a certain app vendor. The TOS (and any other contract) is negotiable if both sides are willing to make concessions.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 21:53
  • Yeah - I suspect it's entirely at Apple's discretion. Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 21:57
  • There might be an argument from other platform app owners that this is an unfair business practice in some way, especially if the complainant was another streaming service like Hulu. I could imagine an argument that since Apple actively maintains monopolistic control over the official distribution of apps on the platform, that it has a duty to treat all the entities putting apps up on their distribution service equally. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 0:36
  • Apple controls their own distribution network. There are plenty of other networks available if a particular app producer doesn't like dealing with it, and neither is any app required to deal with Apple in order to have market, even on Apple devices. I don't see that argument going anywhere.
    – user4657
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 6:08
  • I can think of a dozen top tier apps which already do what Netflix are implementing, so where is the selective enforcement?
    – user4210
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 7:15

1 Answer 1


I think the assumption that Netflix operates on the same terms as are offered to small-scale developers is highly questionable. Netflix are big enough that they have probably negotiated their own terms.

Notwithstanding, a party to a contract is free to allow (‘waive’ being the legal term) violations of that contract by the other party. These can be one off or enduring waivers and agreed before or after the breach either explicitly or, by inaction, implicitly.

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