Tag Archives: iTunes store

Sony leaks reveal Apple TV and iTunes Store contracts, Sex Tape + Breaking Bad deals with Apple

MacBook Breaking Bad Sticker

Known for publishing previously confidential documents, WikiLeaks has released a large collection of emails from last year’s widely publicized hack of Sony, notably including Apple agreements covering Sony’s Crackle Apple TV channel, video sales through iTunes, and other topics. The leaks include:

  • The terms of Apple’s agreement to add Sony’s Crackle video service to the Apple TV, notably including a 3-year term (starting December 11, 2013), Sony’s retention of 100% of advertising revenue, and a promise that Apple will permit new types of overlaid/display ads on Crackle if it becomes technically feasible and Apple OKs it. Few details were previously known about the business terms between Apple and channel providers for the Apple TV.
  • Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store, including the original 2007 agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss, term extensions and high-definition amendments, and the addition of iTunes in the Cloud (which Apple originally called “Virtual Storage Locker”).
  • Sales forecasts for Sony games sold in the App Store, as well as charts suggesting that Sony’s iPhone and iPad game revenues far surpassed the amounts made on competing platforms.

The leaks go on to describe Apple and Sony product tie-ups, including the iPad’s “character” role in the film Sex Tape, as well as Sony’s internal reaction to Apple’s “Stickers” ad featuring a Breaking Bad reference, and an apparent effort by Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg urging Sony not to collaborate with Apple…

  • An email exchange includes a list of roughly two dozen Apple product references in the script for the movie Sex Tape, which Sony executives briefly consider rewriting to use Sony products instead, as “normally this is a big problem.” But since the movie’s producers “feel the iPad/Apple is more of a character in the film,” Sony’s executives okay the references.
  • Concerned emails between Sony executives when Apple ran its MacBook Air sticker advertisement, including the image of Breaking Bad‘s Walter White/Heisenberg, though Apple had requested and apparently received approval.
  • An email from Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was then attempting to buy music video site Vevo, urging Sony not to “let someone like Apple build yet another asset on the back of your content.”

The leak also includes many less consequential emails, such as then-Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairperson Amy Pascal’s purchase of Apple EarPods from Amazon, as well as communications suggesting that Sony knew it was being hacked. Yesterday, a separate WikiLeaks post from the Sony archives revealed that former Apple Senior VP Scott Forstall was serving as an advisor to Snapchat; today, Forstall unexpectedly surfaced in public as a Broadway producer.


Filed under: AAPL Company, General Tagged: Apple, Apple TV, Breaking Bad, Crackle, DreamWorks, iTunes in the Cloud, ITunes Store, Sex Tape, Sony

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Sony leaks reveal Apple TV and iTunes Store contracts, Sex Tape + Breaking Bad deals with Apple

MacBook Breaking Bad Sticker

Known for publishing previously confidential documents, WikiLeaks has released a large collection of emails from last year’s widely publicized hack of Sony, notably including Apple agreements covering Sony’s Crackle Apple TV channel, video sales through iTunes, and other topics. The leaks include:

  • The terms of Apple’s agreement to add Sony’s Crackle video service to the Apple TV, notably including a 3-year term (starting December 11, 2013), Sony’s retention of 100% of advertising revenue, and a promise that Apple will permit new types of overlaid/display ads on Crackle if it becomes technically feasible and Apple OKs it. Few details were previously known about the business terms between Apple and channel providers for the Apple TV.
  • Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store, including the original 2007 agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss, term extensions and high-definition amendments, and the addition of iTunes in the Cloud (which Apple originally called “Virtual Storage Locker”).
  • Sales forecasts for Sony games sold in the App Store, as well as charts suggesting that Sony’s iPhone and iPad game revenues far surpassed the amounts made on competing platforms.

The leaks go on to describe Apple and Sony product tie-ups, including the iPad’s “character” role in the film Sex Tape, as well as Sony’s internal reaction to Apple’s “Stickers” ad featuring a Breaking Bad reference, and an apparent effort by Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg urging Sony not to collaborate with Apple…

  • An email exchange includes a list of roughly two dozen Apple product references in the script for the movie Sex Tape, which Sony executives briefly consider rewriting to use Sony products instead, as “normally this is a big problem.” But since the movie’s producers “feel the iPad/Apple is more of a character in the film,” Sony’s executives okay the references.
  • Concerned emails between Sony executives when Apple ran its MacBook Air sticker advertisement, including the image of Breaking Bad‘s Walter White/Heisenberg, though Apple had requested and apparently received approval.
  • An email from Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was then attempting to buy music video site Vevo, urging Sony not to “let someone like Apple build yet another asset on the back of your content.”

The leak also includes many less consequential emails, such as then-Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairperson Amy Pascal’s purchase of Apple EarPods from Amazon, as well as communications suggesting that Sony knew it was being hacked. Yesterday, a separate WikiLeaks post from the Sony archives revealed that former Apple Senior VP Scott Forstall was serving as an advisor to Snapchat; today, Forstall unexpectedly surfaced in public as a Broadway producer.


Filed under: AAPL Company, General Tagged: Apple, Apple TV, Breaking Bad, Crackle, DreamWorks, iTunes in the Cloud, ITunes Store, Sex Tape, Sony

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Latest Apple service outage affecting App Store & iTunes Store “due to scheduled maintenance” (Update: Restored)

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.11.58 PM

Update: The maintenance lasted about half an hour and is now complete with all services restored according to the system status dashboard.

Apple’s system status dashboard is reporting an ongoing service disruption for multiple store services “due to scheduled maintenance.” Apple’s message says service unavailability may affect all users. Specifically, the maintenance is impacting the App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Store, and Mac App Store services.

Unlike recent Apple service outages, the service disruption is intentional as part of scheduled maintenance, although some users are reporting iCloud syncing issues and iCloud Mail delays not acknowledged by the system status dashboard. A widespread outage last month prompted Apple to publicly apologize to customers for the service interruption.

The maintenance is possibly related to the upcoming Apple Watch launch scheduled for April 24th. Apple started releasing the first set of Apple Watch apps to the App Store last week. Yesterday the company opened WatchKit app submission to all delivers in time to have the new set of apps ready for the Watch’s launch later this month.Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.11.46 PM


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: App Store, Apple TV, IBooks, ibooks store, icloud, iCloud Mail, iCloud syncing, iTunes, iTunes in the Cloud, ITunes Store, Mac App Store

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Apple defends against EU 14-day refund abuse with App Store alert for customers with excessive refunds on file

B7LgR-ACUAA_G35.png-large

Last week, we reported on a flaw with the EU’s new no-questions-asked 14-day refund policy that meant customers could effectively get paid apps for free, as refunding the app does not delete it from customers’ devices.

In response, Apple has adjusted its App Store purchases slightly for customers who have an excessive number of refunds on file. This means people with a track record of refunding purchase effectively lose the right to refund their purchase.

As reported by iDownloadBlog and noted by Rosyna Keller, the alert shown above only displays if an individual has refunded a lot of iTunes Store content (apps, music, books, films or TV shows). If a user is presented with this dialog, they must agree to the notice before they are allowed to purchase, surrendering their right to refund the transaction later.

This is because EU law allows companies to remove refund rights for digital content as long as users are made explicitly aware at the time of download. Pressing Cancel stops the transaction completely and the user cannot buy the app until they agree.

Naturally, for normal users, Apple does not want to complicate the 1-click purchase flow of the App Store with this modal alert so it gives users a grace period … as long as they use the refund system sensibly. It is not clear exactly what parameters cause the alert to be shown. In regards to the ‘flaw’ we reported, the change means that whilst individuals can ‘steal’ a few apps, the iTunes Store system will mean that users cannot do this indefinitely. This is a big improvement.

Image via iDownloadBlog


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apps, Developers, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: App Store, Content, EU, free apps, ITunes Store, paid apps, refunds

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The fundamental flaw with EU 14-day refunds: you keep the app forever

App-store-itunes-refund-UK-01

A week ago, Apple introduced 14-day no-questions-asked refunds in the EU for iTunes Store and App Store content. This means that, without the need for a reason, any Apple customer in Europe can get their money back for (primarily) app purchases in 5-7 days time. That’s how it is described, at least.

This opens up some possibilities for abuse. For instance, if you complete a game within two weeks, then you can get your money back and end up paying nothing. As a developer, I tested this out myself. It turns out there is an even bigger problem. At least, right now, when the refund is processed, the app continues to work. You get the app for free, forever.

What happens is the app gets removed from your ‘Purchased’ account history, so it’s not possible to re-download the app from the store. However, as long the app is already downloaded to a device, the file never gets deleted and never stops working. This means the app is still accessible from the Home Screen and is fully-functioning.

The IPA file is also still in iTunes on my Mac, so theoretically I could delete it from my phone and sync it back via the computer whenever I wanted. Furthermore, even if I do lose the file one day, I can technically just buy the app again and get it refunded … again.

I only tried this with apps but the ‘technique’ (if you can call it that) should also work with music, films and books. This seems like a big problem, for developers at least. Free apps and free content. I’m not sure whether this is intended behavior or not, but I do think it’s stupid and potentially very damaging to the developer community, once the general public catches on that this is possible.

I would expect Apple to track abuse of this feature, but right now I don’t think there’s anything they can do about it, for the time being. They can’t stop people from using the feature — it’s now EU law — and it doesn’t seem like they could change the functionality without a software update (i.e. actually having the app deleted when a refund is processed).

We contacted Apple to get some clarification on the intended behavior of this system for the story, but the company did not respond.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Developers, iOS, iOS Devices, Tech Industry Tagged: App Store, cheat, developers, EU, flaw, free apps, ITunes Store, problems, refunds

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Apple introduces 14-day no questions asked refunds for App Store & iTunes in EU countries

App-store-itunes-refund-UK-01

Apple has recently introduced a new 14-day no questions asked return policy for iTunes, App Store and iBooks purchases in Europe including the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and many other EU countries.

Apple’s terms and conditions for the stores previously stated users had the right to withdraw from a transaction “without charge and without giving any reason until delivery of the product has started.” That meant purchases were all but final apart from some exceptions handled by Apple support.

Now, Apple has updated its terms to include a specific no questions asked 14-day return window that includes all purchases apart from gift cards:

Right of cancellation: If you choose to cancel your order, you may do so within 14 days from when you received your receipt without giving any reason, except iTunes Gifts which cannot be refunded once you have redeemed the code.

Apple states it will refund users within two weeks of receiving notice of cancellation either through its Report a Problem feature (pictured above) or a written statement.

App-store-itunes-refund-UK-02

Refunds for exceptions like failed delivery of content or technical problems were previously handled on a case by case basis through Apple support, which is how Apple continues to handle refunds for software and iTunes content in the US, Canada and most other countries outside the EU. In these locations, Apple states that “all sales and rentals of products are final” and only approves refunds at its discretion for exceptions like those mentioned above.

The changes appear to be related to a new consumer rights directive in the EU that introduced a required 14 calendar day right of cancellation or return period for both goods and services purchased in EAA countries.

In comparison, Google’s Play Store offers a two hour return window for apps, but Google’s support document doesn’t mention the new 14-day return window. It does, however, offer EU customers a longer 14-day cancellation period for music subscriptions compared to just 7 days elsewhere.

The guidelines from the European Commission have been in place since June, but Apple just this month updated most of its terms and conditions documents online. That 14 day period is extended to a year if a business fails to properly inform consumers of the return period, according to the directive.

(via iFun.de)


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apps Tagged: App Store, Apple, consumer rights, EU, France, Germany, Italy, iTunes, iTunes Gifts, ITunes Store, refunds, UK

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Apple launches Boxing Day iTunes sale w/ deals on albums in Canada & UK

Apple-iTunes-Boxing-Day

Apple is now offering its annual Boxing Day sale for Canadians with select discounts on albums and songs through the iTunes store.

The sale is accessible through the iTunes store on both iOS devices and on the desktop in Canada and will likely remain available through at least Dec. 26, the day officially recognized in Canada and elsewhere as Boxing Day. Retailers typically hold Black Friday-type event for Boxing Day with many sales lasting the week of Dec. 24 through Jan. 2.

Apple is offering a range of discounts on best-selling albums across various genres including new releases and older best sellers (as pictured above). The albums are listed in the following categories: Hot in 2014, Essential Albums, Discovery Artists, and Musique francophone.

The UK iTunes store is also advertising Hit Albums on sale as it usually does this time of year. Boxing Day is recognized by some UK retailers, but Apple doesn’t typically use the “Boxing Day” branding on the UK store:

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 4.07.49 PM


Filed under: iOS Tagged: Apple, Boxing Day, Boxing Day sale, Canada, iTunes, ITunes Store, sale

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