Apple, Google and Their in-App PurchasesAdded: Thursday, July 24th, 2014
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The European Commission has praised Google and criticized Apple for their efforts to make sure children do not spend too much money on in-app purchases. The Commission, in cooperation with consumer protection bodies and app store owners, was trying to improve their policies about the use of purchases in apps and games played by children.
The European Commission has developed rules for the app store owners, which included not to advertise games as “free” or mislead people about the true costs. In addition, the rules included banning direct exhortation to children to buy something in a game or to persuade adults to do so. Finally, it was demanded that in-app purchases shouldn’t be made via default settings without explicit consent. Apps firms are now required to provide email addresses to be available for queries and complaints.
According to the results of the work, the commission praised Google for changes the company will put in place in a couple months. However, Apple was criticized by the commission, as it has made no concrete and immediate solutions to address the concerns over payment authorization. Moreover, the company failed to provide any firm commitment or timing for the implementation of such possible future changes. The Commission promised to continue to engage with Apple to make sure it provides specific details of changes.
In response, Apple has lost no time in responding to the criticism, but claimed that the company is leading the industry in parental controls which are easy to use. Apple emphasized that the parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable, with any app enabling in-app purchases being clearly marked as such.
In the meantime, the European Commission leaves enforcement in the hands of national authorities in its member states. For example, the British Office of Fair Trading has been investigating the Amazon case, where children spent too much on in-app purchases in its Android store, since 2013.
It looks like earning the trust of parents is a battleground between Apple and Google with their respective app stores and device software. Last month, Apple unveiled the next big software update for its mobile devices – iOS 8. The operating system will be released later in 2014 and include a feature called Ask To Buy – that one will require kids to first get permission from their parents before making any purchase.
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Thursday, July 24th, 2014No comments
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