Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is giving owners of Samsung TVs direct access to iTunes content starting in the spring. The announcement was made at CES, the annual consumer technology conference in Las Vegas. The deal makes sense, even though Apple has long been known hold tight control of the universe of apps available on its devices. Apple TV has struggled to compete with Amazon, Roku, Google, and TV manufacturers, while Samsung holds the title of the largest TV maker in the world.
The company needs that extra revenue more than ever. Apple’s sales of iPhones and other devices has slowed. Its services business, which houses iTunes, the App Store, Apple Pay, Apple Music and iCloud subscriptions, brought in $10 billion in revenue last quarter. Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week that Apple plans to double the size of its service business from 2016 to 2020.
According to a statement from the company, Samsung will include an iTunes app in its Smart TVs. People will be able to watch movies and TV shows they’ve already bought on iTunes, as well as buy new ones. They will also be able to use Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant to play iTunes content. Samsung Smart TV’s will also support Apple’s AirPlay 2 to play videos, music and photos from their Apple devices on their TVs.
The move is a little surprising since Samsung is one of Apple’s biggest rivals. The two companies have been the top two smartphone makers in the world by market share for most of the past decade. On the other hand, Samsung provides Apple with key components, such as screens and other hardware, for devices including the iPhone and iPad.
Apple and Samsung have spent the last few years fighting a costly legal battle over patents. Apple sued Samsung for $2 billion at one point, and the case ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court. Last summer, the companies finally settled the case for an undisclosed amount.