The European Commission has complained that Apple is taking too long to implement protections for freemium games in the App Store, reports BBC News. The Commission has decreed that both Apple and Google, the two biggest app store vendors, must make the “true cost of apps” clear before purchase. However, officials are upset that Apple has not yet committed to any such measures.
“Regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation,” the Commission said in a statement.
“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.
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Apple has responded to the claims, saying that it does “more than others”. It has already announced Family Sharing features, where children must ask for parental permission before apps can be bought, for iOS 8.
“These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry,” an Apple spokesman said.
“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.”
Consumer protection authorities will continue to work with Apple to police and ensure the necessary changes to the App Store take place. Apparently, Google has already confirmed that it will implement a number of changes to Google Play in September, which seems to have appeased the EU Commission for the time being.
The furore over ‘misleading’ IAP-powered titles has blown up in recent months. In January, the UK Office of Fair Trading released official guidelines for app developers on how to appropriately advertise IAP-driven ‘free’ games.
However, the EU has gone one step further applying pressure to platform owners, not individual developers. The EU has ruled that national authorities can take legal action against noncompliant parties.
Update: Apple told Engadget in a statement:
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.