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: Apple stock heads toward record after concessions for Netflix, Spotify and other app makers

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Apple Inc. shares were poised to close at a record high Thursday after the most valuable U.S. company by market cap announced concessions for some large developers on its app store regarding commissions, while those app makers’ stocks also gained.

Apple
AAPL,
+0.33%

shares rose as much as 1.5% in morning trading and were last up 0.7% at $153.50. A close at that level would surpass the stock’s current closing record of $153.12, which was set on Monday.

Apple said late Wednesday it will allow developers of so-called “reader” apps, which offer content on a subscription basis like Netflix Inc.
NFLX,
+1.60%

and Spotify Technology SA
SPOT,
+7.12%
,
to give customers the option of sidestepping its in-app purchase commissions by making direct purchases from the respective companies. Netflix shares rose more than 2% in Thursday morning trading, while Spotify shares rallied 7%.

More on the change: Apple loosens App Store payment rules for ‘reader’ apps in another concession to developers

Shares of Match Group Inc.
MTCH,
+5.89%

surged 5%, even though it is unclear whether the company’s subscription products like Match.com and Tinder would be covered under the most recent concession. A Match executive said in an April Senate hearing that the company pays roughly $500 million in commissions annually to Apple.

The change would not affect videogames, which are believed to produce the largest share of App Store revenue and have led to one of its biggest fights. Epic Games, known for its battle royal game “Fortnite,” was instrumental in kicking off a rebellion by developers by suing Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s
GOOG,
-0.57%

GOOGL,
-1.02%

Google, claiming the app stores maintained a monopoly of taking commissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases or dropping the app.

Epic vs. Apple: The (predicted) verdict is in

Videogame stocks were mixed Thursday. Unity Software Inc.
U,
+5.67%

shares rallied 5%. Shares of Roblox Holding Corp.
RBLX,
+1.08%

and Playtika Holding Corp.
PLTK,
+1.30%

were up more than 1%, while shares of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.
TTWO,
+0.91%

were up less than 1%, and shares of Electronic Arts Inc.
EA,
-0.27%
,
Activision Blizzard Inc.
ATVI,
-0.28%
,
and Zynga Inc.
ZNGA,
+0.34%

were fractionally down.

The Coalition for App Fairness, which is led by companies such as Epic Games, Spotify and Match, criticized Apple’s concession Wednesday evening as a way “to protect their App Store monopoly by dividing developers into winners and losers.”

Apple made other concessions last week in a proposed settlement of a 2019 class-action lawsuit from developers over app-store practices.

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