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Apple Censured Over In-App Payments Policies

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Apple has been censured by the European Union after it failed to amend adverts for mobile apps that encourage in app payments.

Following a large number of complaints in EU countries concerning in-app purchases in online games and in particular inadvertent purchases by children, national authorities joined forces with the European Commission to investigate the issue and recommend changes.

Vice President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda, commented that: "The Commission is very supportive of innovation in the app sector. In-app purchases are a legitimate business model, but it's essential for app-makers to understand and respect EU law while they develop these new business models".

Both Apple and Google were asked to amend their marketing of free apps so that they were clearer about in-app purchases and that children should be protected from aggressive marketing to buy additional in-app credits.

Making use of the consumer protection cooperation mechanism provided by EU rules, Apple, Google and relevant trade associations were asked to provide concrete solutions across the EU to the concerns raised.

The European Commission noted that while Google has committed to make a number of changes by the end of September, Apple has not made a similar commitment.

Apple has agreed to make changes, but the Commission said that it was disappointed that no timeframe had been agreed, nor the scope of the changes being proposed.

The Commission ended by warning that legal enforcement is an option, although that lies with national regulators to enforce.

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Tags: apple  mobile apps  app store  google  european commission