European Commission Confronts In-App Purchases

By Jared Scott on July 21, 2014, 4:15PM EDT

After receiving numerous complaints from parents, the European Commission took it upon themselves to confront both Google and Apple on the issues of in-app purchases, misleading information on supposedly free games, not providing contact information, and whether or not they are properly informing parents of payment processes. While both companies responded to the EU, only one of them has taken action.

Google has arranged for several changes that will take place in September to help fight misleading information concerning their apps. Any games that include in-app purchases will no longer have the label "free" attached to them, and those that have such purchases will follow guidelines to help prevent children from buying them on their parents' devices. The final change they intend to implement will be a way to monitor whether or not the European Commission laws are being breached by developers.

Apple, on the other hand, released a statement defending the measures that they already have in place.

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 customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We've also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 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.

While an improvement in company honesty can be expected in Europe's mobile market, there is no word if these changes will be reflected in other markets, such as North America or Japan.

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