Samsung Electronics said it will offer iTunes app on some of its internet-connected smart TVs beginning this spring, in a remarkable announcement for two companies that were locked in a bruising seven-year-long patent battle over whether Samsung copied Apple’s iPhone.
The iTunes Movies and TV Shows app will be available in 100 countries on Samsung’s 2019 TVs as well as its 2018 models. That means consumers will be able to access their existing video libraries and browse the iTunes Store to buy or rent movies and TV episodes directly from their newer Samsung TVs.
The Samsung TVs also include support for AirPlay 2, Apple’s wireless streaming standard.
The partnership marks one of those rare occasions when Apple allowed its software to be used on a third-party device. Back in 2003, Apple printed a poster with the phrase “Hell Froze Over” when then CEO Steve Jobs announced iTunes would be compatible with Windows PCs.
Apple’s partnership with the world’s largest television manufacturer seems a prelude to the launch of its much-anticipated video streaming service, whose global rollout is expected sometime this year.
“We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favorite content on the biggest screen in their home,” Apple SVP Eddy Cue said in a statement.
The Cupertino technology giant could certainly use another source of revenue to make it less dependent on iPhone revenue (which currently accounts for two-thirds of the company’s revenue). The company last week warned it would fall short of its holiday quarter revenue estimates because of slower iPhone sales and a cooling Chinese economy.
Samsung said it is looking to offer consumers the widest range of content on its devices.
Bringing more content, value and open platform functionality to Samsung TV owners and Apple customers through iTunes and AirPlay is ideal for everyone,” said Samsung EVP Won-Jin Lee in a statement.
Samsung and Apple reached a settlement in their long running iPhone dispute last June, though the terms were never made public.
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