Report: Apple Tattled on Google to FTC About In-App Purchase Policies

July 10, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

In January of this year Apple was the first company to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over Apple’s handling of in-app purchases. The company agreed to make it harder for children to purchase in-game content and apps without the express consent of parents or guardians, and Apple agreed to pay out $32.5 million to parents affected by its lax policy - and if the payouts were less than that amount the balance of the settlement would go to the FTC. But a new document reveals that while Apple was fighting/negotiating with the FTC, it tried to throw Google under the bus about its app-purchasing policies.

A recent Freedom of Information Act request from Politico revealed that a week after the decision against Apple, the company's general counsel Bruce Sewell tried to throw Google under the bus, writing to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Democratic Commissioner Julie Brill and pointing out Google’s similar behavior. Sewell referred the FTC commissioners to a Consumer Reports article that "faulted Google for allowing your 'kid to spend like a drunken sailor' for 30 minutes after an adult initially entered a password.”

Apple's motivation seemed to be that it shouldn’t be the only company to pay for its App Store business practices and policies.

While the FTC didn't take action against Google (at least that we know of yet), it has set its sights on another Apple competitor: Amazon. But Amazon won't play ball like Apple did and earlier this month said that it would fight the FTC in federal court before it complied with the agency's settlement ruling. Amazon says that it has already made changes to its App Store that make it hard for children to buy apps without parental consent.

The Politico article is interesting because it seems to indicate that Apple gave the FTC a nudge in Google's direction; it is expected that the agency will take at Google soon somewhere down the road.

For now the FTC has no comment on its investigations into either Google or Amazon...

Source: Ars Technica


 
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