EC criticises Apple for inadequate in-app purchase protection

App Dev and SOA

by CBR Staff Writer| 21 July 2014

Apple considers its present strategy is efficient and goes ‘far beyond the features of others in the industry’.

The European Commission (EC) has criticised Apple for not working on any 'concrete and immediate' plans to implement protection for freemium games offered in the App Store.

The EC said in a statement that, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation.

"Apple has proposed to address those concerns. However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes," the statement added.

With several games available for free, some are designed to lure users to pay for in-game improvements, often enabling for faster progression.

Apple and Google, together with the games industry body Interactive Software Federation have been asked to make the 'true cost' of games clear, while the iPhone maker was targeted for not implementing the change.

"Enforcement, including possible legal action, is in the hands of the national authorities which will now consider how to address outstanding legal issues," EC added.

However, Apple reportedly consider its present strategy to be efficient, adding: "Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store.

"The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customisable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked."

Apple noted that it also created a Kids Section on the App Store by integrating even stronger protection to cover apps mainly intended for children under the age of 13.

"These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry. But we are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we're adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store.

"Our goal is to continue to provide the best experience for our customers and we will continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns."

However, Google has been praised by the EU for modifications to its app store would go live by September 2014.

The EC added: "These include not using the word 'free' at all when games contain in-app purchases, developing targeted guidelines for its app developers to prevent direct exhortation to children as defined under EU law and time-framed measures to help monitor apparent breaches of EU consumer laws.

"It has also adapted its default settings, so that payments are authorised prior to every in-app purchase, unless the consumer actively chooses to modify these settings."

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