One lesson all tech companies should learn from Apple


by Duncan MacRae| 16 January 2014

How not to lose $32.5m or alienate you customers.

Apple's refund of $32.5m to customers whose children made in-app purchases without their permission, using their parents' iPhones or iPads, should serve as a warning to all technology providers, a brand expert has stated.

The tech giant reached a settlement over the compensation with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) following complaints that many of Apple's child-friendly apps offered chargeable items within the apps, costing anything from 99c to $99.99.

Fiona Davies-Baker, director at brand development firm Added Value, said: "The problem of controlling children's technology usage and avoiding any 'bill shock' like the kind Apple users have experienced whilst allowing children to benefit from technology is one that is on the minds of many technology providers, including mobile operators

"Apple has been caught out this time. It's unlikely to have lasting damage on the brand, but it's a signal that they need to raise their game in thinking about protecting families and children who use their products."

Technology companies have to be pro-active in this area, explained Davies-Baker, as parents often feel on the backfoot in comparison to their children's technological knowhow.

"The key will be ensuring that the simple and intuitive benefits of the Apple user experience are balanced with the reassurance that there is no bill shock lurking in the background," she added.

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