in-app purchases Stories May 16, 2014

Apple under fire from Italian antitrust regulator over freemium app sales model

Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority says it is investigating “freemium” apps offered in Apple’s App Store along with similar stores operated by Google and Amazon, saying that customers could be misled by the “free” label, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the regulatory group, users who download these apps for free could believe that the game is completely free and not know when downloading the app how much it will actually cost.

If Apple is found to have misled customers, the company could be fined as much as €5 million. It’s not likely to put a big dent in Apple’s cash reserve, but the Italian antitrust committee has previously convinced Apple to change its policy regarding AppleCare marketing.

in-app purchases Stories March 27, 2014

Yes, Apple is taking 30% of every Office 365 subscription purchased through Office for iPad

When Microsoft announced its Office for iPad apps earlier today, it confirmed that the software will require a subscription to Microsoft’s $99/year Office 365 service for most functions. If you don’t have one already, you can get a subscription directly through the Office apps for the regular price of $99.

As you may recall, Apple and Microsoft went toe-to-toe last April on the issue of whether or not Apple should get a 30% cut for SkyDrive storage space purchased through the SkyDrive app. Apple has always maintained the position that any goods or services sold through iOS apps should use the in-app purchase system created by Apple—allowing the Cupertino company to take its regular 30% cut of the price.

In the case of the SkyDrive dispute, Apple’s decision remained unchanged, which prompted Microsoft to simply remove the option to purchase additional storage space through the SkyDrive app altogether. In the case of today’s Office launch, however, the two companies seem to be on much better terms.

Apple has confirmed to Re/code that the company is taking its full 30% share of all Office 365 purchases made through the iPad software. This apparent agreement, along with friendly tweets between the CEOs of both companies, could be the first signs of a much less combative Microsoft under the leadership of new CEO Satya Nadella, who replaced Steve Ballmer in the role this year.

Perhaps in the future we’ll see even more collaboration between the two companies.

in-app purchases Stories March 25, 2014

 

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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in-app purchases Stories March 24, 2014

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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in-app purchases Stories February 25, 2014

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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in-app purchases Stories January 15, 2014

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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