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Apple flexes its market muscles

Apple is launching a long-awaited subscription service for magazines, newspapers, videos and music — a move that could dent the fortunes of successful services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Apple is launching a long-awaited subscription service for magazines, newspapers, videos and music — a move that could dent the fortunes of successful services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Apple’s service allows it to keep 30 percent of customer payments to any publisher with a presence in its App Store, including blue-chip brands such as The New York Times, Netflix or Rhapsody, the popular music service.

Publishers can set the price and length of a subscription. They can also offer subscriptions through their own existing websites, but would be required to offer those same terms to anyone signing up through Apple.

In other words, customers who want to sign up for a Netflix video account would have two choices: They could do so through the Netflix site, in which case Netflix would keep the full fee; or they could subscribe through the applications in their iPhone or iPad, which would cost Netflix 30 percent of its fees.

In launching the service, Apple is taking yet another bold step in securing a major role for itself in the future of digital media.

 
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