SAN FRANCISCO — When Apple opened its App Store in 2008, a year after it introduced the iPhone, the 30% fee it charged developers to sell their software in the store was an afterthought. But as apps went mainstream, the store turned into a $20 billion a year business, by some estimates.

Now, under pressure from regulators and many of those developers, Apple is making a series of concessions that would appear to chip away at that giant business.

On Wednesday, prompted by an investigation by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, Apple agreed to allow some companies, like Netflix and Spotify, to direct their users to payment methods outside its App Store when they sign up for subscriptions.

The tweak, coming after a similar change last month, was a strategic retreat of sorts, said analysts who track Apple’s business. Apple — so far — is standing its ground on the App Store’s cash cow: its share of the business from game makers.

“That’s something Apple will fight tooth-and-nail to defend,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Apple is facing growing pressure from regulators and politicians around the world. Its App Store is the target of an antitrust investigation by the Justice Department. Last month, the Senate also introduced antitrust legislation aimed at fostering competition with both Apple and Google’s app stores.


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