Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently made a noticeable but significant change within its App Store. The company removed the Free download button on freemium apps and change it to Get.
The reason behind Apple’s latest change isn’t clear, but some speculate its because the European Commission pressured the company to change it. EC claimed the “free” label can mislead customers when it doesn’t explicitly show the presence of in-app purchases.
Apple’s problem with in-app purchases
Unfortunately, this new move doesn’t seem to make it harder for kids to accrue in-app purchases. This particular issue has been quite a problem for Apple in the past. One notable case happened last June when an 8-year-old girl in Britain ran up a huge bill of GBP 4,000 while making in-app purchases from games Smurfs’ Village and My Horse. Apple later reimbursed the girl’s father. It was cases such as this that led to an investigation from the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading.
This investigation was to determine if certain games mislead children and pressuring them to pay for content. It also seeked a response from parents who previously experienced such problems. The ultimate goal of the investigation was not looking further into in-app purchases but to look at the way it was marketed towards players. The problem stems from how some titles aggressively encourage users to purchase content. Certain actions could be unlawful under a U.K. law.[drizzle]
EC also prompted Google to make changes
A representative for the company added, “Over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. Apple will continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns.”
Google also made some changes regarding the Google Play Store. The firm changed Top Free Apps to Top Apps and Top Free Games to Top Games. Google Play also started to display in-app price ranges in app listings.[/drizzle]