After pulling all Apple TV hardware from Amazon.com in December 2015 because it didn’t “interact well” with its video-subscription service, online retail giant Amazon has at long last warmed up to the idea of permitting owners of Apple’s set-top box to use its service.
Recode reported Friday that the two companies are “close to an agreement” that would bring Amazon’s Video app to Apple TV in the third quarter of the year, possibly coinciding with the introduction of a next-generation Apple TV with support for 4K video streaming and more.
“It’s unclear what got the two companies to reach an agreement, though some industry observers suggest that any pact would have been worked out, at a high level, by CEOs Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos,” said Recode.
That app would let Amazon Prime Video subscribers watch TV shows and movies directly on their Apple TV set-top box without having to use AirPlay.
It’s unclear if Apple TV hardware will be returning to Amazon.com anytime soon and whether or not the two tech giants might have settled other disputes involving their rival video ambitions.
Last year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said why they stopped selling Apple TVs:
We want our player, our Prime Video player, to be on the device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms. And so, you can always get the player on the device; the question is can you do so with acceptable business terms.
And if you can’t, then we don’t want to sell it to our customers, because they’re going to be buying it thinking they can watch Prime Video and then they’re going to be disappointed. And they’re going to return it.
Currently, Apple TV owners and Prime members must use AirPlay to wirelessly send movies and TV shows to their Apple TV via Amazon’s pretty limited Prime Video app for iOS, which still won’t let you buy or rent individual programs without visiting Amazon.com first.
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“As we have already succeeded in developing an app for iPhone and iPad, we hope to make an app separately for the Apple TV,” said the online retailer a year and a half ago.
The app was supposed to release before the end of 2015, but negotiations between the two tech giants obviously took a lot longer than expected.
Earlier this year, Apple hired Amazon’s former Fire TV chief to head up its Apple TV business.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s shopping app is available on the fourth-generation Apple TV with purchasing support for Prime members and other features.