Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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

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

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. The company’s market capitalization stands at more than $2.52 trillion.

Apple said late Wednesday it will allow developers of so-called reader apps, which offer content on a subscription basis from the likes of Netflix Inc.
and Spotify Technology SA
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, extending their best-ever two-week stretch of gains into record territory, 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.
surged 6%, even though it is unclear whether the company’s subscription products including Match.com and Tinder would be covered under the most recent Apple concession. A Match executive said in an April congressional 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

Google, claiming their app stores maintained monopoly power by taking commissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases under threat of dropping an app.

See: The (predicted) verdict in the Epic v. Apple case is in

Videogame stocks were mixed Thursday. Unity Software Inc. shares
rallied 5%. Shares of Roblox Holding Corp.
and Playtika Holding Corp.
were up more than 1%, while shares of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.
were up less than 1%, and shares of Electronic Arts Inc.
Activision Blizzard Inc.
and Zynga Inc.

were fractionally down.

The Coalition for App Fairness, which is led by companies including Epic, Spotify and Match, criticized Apple’s concession Wednesday evening as a way “to protect [its] 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 by developers over app practices.

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

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