Email reveals Apple had given Hulu special access to App Store API

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple vs Epic trial is ongoing.
  • Documents revealed Hulu was a "whitelisted" developer and had access to cancel/refund API.
  • No other developers have been specifically named yet.

As the Apple vs Epic anti-trust trial continues, and on its fourth day of proceedings, Apple has confirmed that special deals for services like Hulu have been offered in the past.

The ‌App Store‌ Vice President Matt Fischer was on the stand today answering questions about the App Store policies on things like API and special offers. An exert from an email between Matt Fischer asked Cindy Lin revealed this:

"Hulu is part of the set of whitelisted developers with access to subscription cancel/refund API. Back in 2015 they were using this to support instant upgrade using a 2 family setup, before we had subscription upgrade/downgrade capabilities built in."

You can even see a copy of the documents in a tweet made by video game journalist, Nick Statt, who has been following the trial closely.

See more

During questioning, Fischer was asked if Apple has given some developers special access to allow them to do things that other developers can't. To which he said no, but also mentioned that sometimes they select certain developers to test features.

This comes after, Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO, said he would have accepted a special deal with Apple not available to any other developers to solve its App Store dispute.

Apple has always maintained its position that the App Store is a fair and equal platform where every app is treated the same, but it does appear that special privileges were given to certain developers at least at one point.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.