By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2014
In-App Purchase, a way overused feature which provides a way for supposedly free games and apps to ask users for cash in order to enable advanced features or unlock virtual items, is increasingly drawing ire of regulators across the globe.
In-App Purchases are notorious for fooling less-informed adults and kids into downloading so-called freemium apps so it’s no wonder the European Union officials have repeatedly warned that companies like Apple and Google should stop labeling free-to-download apps that contain In-App Purchases as “Free”.
Companies could soon be forced to make the “true cost of apps” unambiguously clear before purchase, according to a complaint the European Commission filed today… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 21, 2014
Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority is probing Apple, Google, Amazon and Gameloft over accusations that these companies are intentionally misleading consumers who download freemium smartphone and tablets apps without realizing In-App Purchases are needed to unlock more features.
According to a new report, Italian investigators have asked Apple and others to submit their defense within the next twenty days or face a fine of up to €5 million each (about $6.84 million), although the punishment would be proportional to each company’s size… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 18, 2014
Apple is one of a handful of tech companies being investigated by Italian regulators over the popular ‘freemium’ app pricing model. On Friday, Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority said it’s investigating Apple, Google, Amazon and Gameloft over apps that offer in-app purchases.
The agency wants to determine whether or not the companies offer sufficient information in their respective apps and app stores regarding pay-for in-app content. It feels consumers may be confused by the idea of downloading a game for free, and then receiving charges after the fact… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 15, 2014
It seems Apple’s relaxed its policy concerning promotional codes for iOS and Mac applications. Promo codes are a popular tool among developers who use them for giveaways like ones iDownloadBlog runs on its Twitter channel from time to time.
They’re also a useful PR tool as developers usually send the codes to journalists who then download paid apps free of charge for review purposes.
Even though promo codes have never been available for paid in-app content sold through the iOS In-App Purchase mechanism (there are some workarounds to that, by the way), there are indications now that Apple is willing to change its stance… Read More
By Cody Lee on Apr 26, 2014
ComiXology, the leading digital comics platform, has launched a new application for iOS today. The company sent out an email to customers this morning announcing that the old app is being retired, and a new one is now available. The biggest difference between the two, it seems, is that the new app does’t allow in-app purchases.
The change is noteworthy, as the ComiXology app has long been one of the top-grossing iPad titles in the App Store, and it comes shortly after Amazon acquired the comics platform. It’s not surprising though, as it’s the same strategy the e-commerce giant takes with its Kindle iOS app, in an effort to circumvent Apple’s 30% cut… Read More
By Sébastien Page on Apr 22, 2014
iOS 7.1.1 was released earlier today with a few enhancements and bug fixes. One new feature that has gone somewhat unnoticed is the addition of the In-App Purchases label that appear under the price/download button of applications.
This new label makes it really clear from the get go when an app contains in-app purchases. It’s something that Apple didn’t hide before as it’s been indicated directly under the name of an app in the app description since 2013, but this definitely clarifies things up and makes it more straightforward… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 27, 2014
Following today’s long expected release of the Office for iPad applications, Apple’s boss Tim Cook issued a nice tweet welcoming Word, Excel and PowerPoint into the App Store. Returning the favor, Microsoft’s newly installed chief executive Satya Nadella took to Twitter to thank Cook, saying he was “excited to bring the magic of Office to iPad customers”.
Redmond couldn’t have wished for a better endorsement than this!
So, why are these powerful Silicon Valley executives droning politely on to each other, do you think? And how come Cook is promoting Office for iPad even though the software competes squarely with Apple’s own iWork suite, free with iDevice purchases?
Could it be because folks at Cupertino are getting their standard 30 percent cut on Office 365 subscriptions sold within the app… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2014
Following numerous probes by government agencies and looming class action lawsuits the company is now facing around the world, Apple is finally reaching out to customers to inform them they may be entitled to refunds concerning unwanted in-app purchases made by minors due to weak iOS Restrictions at the time.
Last year, the iPhone maker reluctantly settled with the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding in-app purchases, agreeing to compensate consumers and modify its in-app billing system by March 31 to make things a little clearer for its customers… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 12, 2014
Apple released iOS 7.1 earlier this week, and among its many other changes is a new warning message for users regarding the 15-minute in-app purchase window. The window allows you to buy IAPs on an iOS device for 15 minutes after a password is entered without authorization.
The move is likely part of Apple’s efforts to make good on its settlement with the FTC regarding a lawsuit over IAPs. The company told the commission that it would issue refunds to those affected, and modify its in-app billing system to make the whole process more clear for users… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 6, 2014
In a settlement with the FTC earlier this year regarding a lawsuit over in-app purchases, Apple told the commission that it would issue refunds to those affected and modify its in-app billing system to make things more clear. The FTC agreed and gave the company until March 31, 2014 to make the changes.
In order to meet the government’s orders, Apple must alter its billing practices to obtain a user’s express consent before billing them for an in-app purchase, and provide them with an easy way to withdraw that consent. And according to a new report, Apple engineers are scrambling to meet the deadline…
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 27, 2014
Reuters is reporting that The European Commission has invited Apple and Google to discuss a flurry of user complaints surrounding in-app purchases. The move follows numerous media reports that center on disgruntled parents who were shocked to find that their children racked up vast credit card bills by making content purchases in free-to-play games.
The Commission is arguing that it’s Apple’s and Google’s responsibility not to misleading consumers. The Commission also called upon greedy app creators to provide “very concrete answers” in respect to in-app purchasing concerns… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 15, 2014
Parents whose kids were tricked into obtaining virtual items in iPhone and iPad games by way of the iOS In-App Purchase mechanism will get refunded over unwanted spending, according to Apple’s settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The penalty dwarfs Google’s $22.5 million fine in the Safari website tracking scandal.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was not pleased with the outcome, but acknowledged in a letter to employees that the company “has entered into a consent decree” over long-standing complaints over inappropriate charges in the App Store, alluding his company may have exhausted its legal options and didn’t want to risk an enduring legal battle with the government… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Oct 18, 2013
Next to developer allegiance, where advertisers are spending their mobile ad dollars could be the most significant sign of whether Apple or Android is winning. New numbers out today show Apple’s iOS is trouncing Google and it is the iPad that’s leading the way. Indeed, the Apple tablet was the target of more than 91 percent of mobile ad impressions.
What’s more, despite a near neck-and-neck race in terms of ad impressions on smartphones, the iPhone outperforms Android handsets for hauling in ad revenue. For example, while Android smartphones deliver 30.5 percent of mobile ad impressions, the platform receives just 27.7 percent of the revenue.
By comparison, although the iPhone receives 30.8 percent of impressions, it gets 36.44 percent of revenue, according to a mobile ad analytic firm Opera Mediaworks… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Aug 23, 2013
The U.S. Department of Justice Friday tweaked its ebook settlement offer, including emails between Steve Jobs and Apple’s marketing head. The revised settlement charges Apple altered its in-app purchasing policy “to retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disproved of.”
The email exchange between Jobs and marketing chief Philip Schiller discussed how to counteract an Amazon commercial showing how the internet retailers app allowed ebooks to be read on either the iPad or the Kindle… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 22, 2013
I don’t have kids yet. But when I do, I’m going to make sure that I take all of the necessary steps to prevent them from making purchases in the App Store. There are various ways to do this, and for me it’s just common sense—I wouldn’t leave them with real money.
But apparently, it’s not such a cut-and-dry matter for some folks. Take this story by UK’s Mirror publication, which went viral this weekend, about an 8-year-old girl racking up a staggering $6000 App Store bill on her father’s iPad by making several in-app purchases… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Jul 8, 2013
Candy Crush Saga could become the legal Crack of the app world. Initially belittled for its close resemblance to Bejeweled, Electronics Arts’ addictive freemium game, Candy Crush is now the poster child for the freemium model, raking in a record $633,000 per day, according to one estimate. The key is simple: get players addicted to the game, then charge for larger and larger fixes. Theoretically, the company behind Candy Crush could pull in $230 million in annualized revenue from this single app, even turning the game loose on Wall Street… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jun 24, 2013
Apple began sending out emails to some iTunes users this weekend, informing them of how the approximately 23 million people that are a part of the in-app purchases class-action lawsuit can apply for compensation.
The settlement, which will cost Apple in excess of $100 million, stems from a class action lawsuit filed against Apple by parents who complained that it was far too easy for their children to make in-app purchases… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 7, 2013
You wouldn’t think that an update to an app that maps out Wi-Fi hotspots would be newsworthy, but this new release from Boingo Wireless could have a significant impact on how travelers access the internet.
The hotspot provider updated its Wi-Finder app today with the ability to sign up for access to its wireless internet in-app. So signing up for a Bingo subscription is now as easy as typing in your iTunes password… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 26, 2013
In-app purchasing via mobile applications is receiving some unwanted attention, with disgruntled parents increasingly accusing the iPhone maker of doing too little to protect kids from falling prey of greedy developers who pressure them into buying items and in turn wracking up bills for unsuspecting parents.
The UK government, for example, is conducting a probe into iOS in-app game purchases and Apple previously settled a class action lawsuit over the controversial feature. Of course, iOS 6 has decent parental controls which let users disable in-app purchasing altogether.
While adding a warning for in-app purchases in freemium apps and moving age ratings atop App Store pages helped clear up any confusion as to the nature of in-app purchasing, Apple though it could do better and on Thursday launched a new App Store feature titled ‘Learn More About In-App Purchases’… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 13, 2013
Are iOS games pressuring children into buying items, sometimes wracking up bills for unsuspecting parents? That’s the focus of a probe underway by the UK government, concerned that in-app purchases may unfairly target children. According to a BBC report, Office of Fair Trading (OFT) wants to hear from parents with the hope games developers will follow laws already on the books to protect children… Read More