After in-app purchase settlement, Apple pushed FTC to investigate Google Play Store

“Apple leaped into action after the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on iPhone and iPad apps that let kids spend their parents’ money without permission,” Tony Romm reports for Politico.

“Not even a week after the news broke in January, the company’s top lawyer quietly took aim — at a competitor,” Romm reports. “‘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. The previously undisclosed email was obtained by Politico through a Freedom of Information Act request.”

“f recent history is any guide — and Apple and consumer advocates have their way — Google may be next in the FTC’s crosshairs,” Romm reports. “For a time, some Android smartphone owners who entered their password to download a game or other app later discovered their kids had racked up charges within that app for up to 30 minutes afterward. That’s the reason the FTC pursued Apple — and it’s the rationale behind the agency’s newly revealed investigation of The cases only raise the odds that Google is another target… For the moment, though, it’s Amazon — not Google — tangling publicly with the FTC. The online retail giant last week revealed it is the target of an FTC investigation, but the company stressed it would go to court before settling with the commission.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In the U.S., the law should apply equally to all — theoretically, at least.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
‘Deeply disappointed’ Amazon fights FTC over in-app purchases made by children – July 3, 2014
Federal regulators are redesigning how your iPad works; U.S. FTC thinks it knows better than Apple – February 3, 2014
Apple to refund at least $32.5 million to settle FTC complaint it charged for kids’ In-App Purchases without parental consent – January 16, 2014
Apple’s Cook settles with FTC over kids’ In-App Purchases rather than endure legal fight – January 15, 2014
Apple refunds 8-year-old girl’s $6,000 bill for in-app purchases – July 21, 2013
Apple notifies parents of In-App Purchase settlement details – June 24, 2013
In-App Purchasing lawsuit against Apple allowed to proceed – April 21, 2012
Parents sue Apple over in-app charges – April 16, 2012
Lack of parental controls on Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire lets kids charge up a storm – December 12, 2011
Freemium and Apple’s App Store: The in-app purchasing model really works – October 14, 2011


  1. Wait, you mean the second largest App Store and they failed to look at Google? Do they wear blinders or what. They should have looked at all the top App stores to see if they were set up like Apple and if so, to engage to balance out the problem with all the stores.

    1. Citizens should have available online a report issued every month on the cases the regulatory police, like the FTC, the FDA, the sec, etc. it should briefly say in laymen terms which companies they dealt with as well as the crime and the punishment served. I don’t think this is too much to ask, maybe a simple report that can be done in five minutes.

      1. I meant issued by these agencies. We were promised transparency, and that means to me explanations anyone can understand, not deception hidden behind legalese or overwhelming meaningless volume. For that matter, we should get rid of legalese all together. Maybe a bill can be passed to hire a few legal graduates and have them rewrite laws so a ten year old could understand. That would empower citizens and strengthen democracy.

  2. So let me get this straight. Apple’s case was brought up by actual customers and Google/Amazon’s was initiated by Apple’s lawyers. I don’t remember hearing any article about similar complaints from the much larger customer base of Android users. Kinda like Apple feels it unfair and at the same time doesn’t really believe Android App revenue is only a fraction of iOS revenue.

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