By Wallace Witkowski
Apple Inc. shares closed 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 (NAS:AAPL) shares closed up 0.8% at $153.65, surpassing the stock’s previous 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. (NAS:NFLX) and Spotify Technology SA (NYS:SPOT) , to give customers the option of sidestepping its in-app purchase commissions by making direct purchases from the respective companies. Netflix shares closed up 1.1% at $588.55 Thursday, extending their best-ever two-week stretch of gains into record territory , while Spotify shares rallied to close up 6.6% at $254.03.
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Shares of Match Group Inc. (NAS:MTCH) finished up 6.1% at $147.11, 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 (NAS:GOOG) (NAS:GOOGL) Google, claiming the app stores maintained a monopoly of taking commissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases or dropping the app.
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Videogame stocks were mostly spilt Thursday with Unity Software Inc. (NYS:U) leading gainers with a 5.3% rise to close at $133.14. Shares of Roblox Holding Corp. (NYS:RBLX) rose 0.2%, while Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NAS:TTWO) closed up less than 0.1%.
Playtika Holding Corp. (NAS:PLTK) finished down 0.2%, while Electronic Arts Inc. (NAS:EA) declined 0.7%, Activision Blizzard Inc. (NAS:ATVI) fell 1.2%, and Zynga Inc. (NAS:ZNGA) broke even for the day.
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.