Apple’s top lawyer reported Google to FTC over in-app purchases by kids

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Apple seemingly wasn’t too happy that it was singled out for an FTC investigation into making it too easy for children to make in-app purchases: following its own settlement back in January, the company’s general counsel Bruce Sewell promptly reported Google for the same thing, reports Politico.

“I thought this article might be of some interest, particularly if you have not already seen it,” Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell wrote to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Democratic Commissioner Julie Brill, pointing to a report that criticized Google’s app store over the same issue of unauthorized purchases …

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Twitterrific goes free with version 5.7, optional IAPs to remove ads, enable push notifications

 

twitterrific iconWith the latest update, The Iconfactory has changed their business model for Twitterrific rather dramatically. Up to now, Twitterrific has been available for iPhone and iPad for $2.99.

However, Twitterrific has now changed to a freemium business model. This means anyone can download the app for free as an ad-supported application. There is also a selection of unlockable features available as in-app purchases.

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Apple reaches out to in-app purchase customers, offers refund for purchases made by minors

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Police officer Doug Crossan reported his son Cameron for fraud after Cameron spent £3,700 on the App Store

Apple has sent an email to customers who recently made in-app purchases on their iOS devices informing them that any purchases made by a minor were subject to a refund. This is the latest in a series of steps Apple has taken to ensure that children do not make unauthorized purchases on a parent’s device or iTunes account.

The email tells customers that if they suspect a purchase was made by a minor, they can request a refund by logging into their iTunes account and reporting a problem with the purchase:

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Disney leverages iTunes to take on UltraViolet with new ‘Movies Anywhere’ iOS app

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The ties between Apple and Disney are tightening even more thanks to their unprecedented collaboration on the new Movies Anywhere app. This ambitious project has been percolating at Disney for years and aims to make purchasing and viewing digital content easier than ever.

A direct shot at UltraViolet, the Movies Anywhere app allows users to purchase and play movies within the app or through any device with access to your iTunes library. Previously purchased films on DVD, and Blu-ray can be added to the app if they shipped with a digital redemption code. All past iTunes purchases are eligible.

Users can simply connect their iTunes account to their Disney Movies Anywhere account to begin populating their Disney digital movie locker and watch movies online and on their devices. Featuring simultaneous access on multiple devices, Disney Movies Anywhere enables consumers to stream and download Disney movies on their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and Apple TV (through iCloud or using AirPlay).

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Apple settles with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over App Store in-app-purchases

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Apple CEO Tim Cook informed Apple employees today via email that the company has settled with the United States Federal Trade Commision over an in-app purchases dispute. Cook says that Apple and the FTC have been negotiating for “several months.” The issue in the App Store comes down to the controversies surrounding children spending money too easily in the App Store without the consent of their parents.

Cook notes that “protecting children” has been a priority for everyone at Apple, and Cook notes that the App Store has industry leading controls for security and privacy, making the need to deal with the FTC surprising. Cook’s email details the safeguards in place for the in-app purchase system. Cook also notes the great lengths that Apple went to in order to appease customers who may have been harmed by in-app purchases:

Last year, we set out to refund any in-app purchase which may have been made without a parent’s permission. We wanted to reach every customer who might have been affected, so we sent emails to 28 million App Store customers – anyone who had made an in-app purchase in a game designed for kids. When some emails bounced, we mailed the parents postcards. In all, we received 37,000 claims and we will be reimbursing each one as promised.

Cook also says that it doesn’t feel right that the FTC intervened here. Alas, a settlement has been reached:

It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled. To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight.

Here’s Cook’s email in full:

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Using Steve Jobs email as evidence, DOJ says Apple changed in-app purchase policy to retaliate against Amazon

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As first spotted by GigaOm, the US Department of Justice has submitted a revised remedy proposal in the ongoing ebook case that previously found Apple guilty of conspiring with publishers to control ebook pricing. While much of the proposal remains the same as the proposal it first submitted at the beginning of this month, the report points out that the DOJ has added more information and a Steve Jobs email as an exhibit showing that Apple changed its in-app purchasing policies specifically “to retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disapproved of.”

While referencing the email above in which Steve Jobs and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller discuss forcing Amazon to go through Apple’s payment system, the DOJ claims Apple “misrepresented the factual circumstances” since it allows other retailers to bypass its 30% cut: Read more