Apple Tattled on Google to Draw FTC Attention to Similar Kids In-App Purchasing Issue

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Earlier this year, Apple entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, promising to provide $32 million in refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items.

As it turns out, while Apple was being targeted by the FTC for letting children make in-app purchases without parental consent, the company was attempting to get Google in trouble for doing the same thing. According to a report from Politico, head Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell sent the FTC a report highlighting the same in-app purchase issues in Google's own Play store.
"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.
Apple has long faced issues over in-app purchases, with the company first landing in hot water with the FTC after multiple parental complaints over children over-spending within apps and several high profile stories of children spending thousands of dollars. While most of the focus has been on Apple, Google too has faced the same issues, as children were able to make purchases for up to 30 minutes after a parent entered a password, much as they could in the App Store before Apple implemented specific changes.

Apple was not happy to be singled out by the FTC over in-app purchases, as the company had previously settled a lawsuit levied at it over the issue. Under the terms of the lawsuit, Apple had agreed to provide iTunes credit and cash refunds to parents, but the FTC demanded more.

At the time, Tim Cook said the FTC's decision to sue over a previously settled case "smacked of double jeopardy," but agreed to the terms as it didn't "require us to do anything we weren't already going to do."

Apple officially began sending emails to affected iTunes users and issuing refunds in March. Google has thus far not been targeted by the FTC.

Article Link: Apple Tattled on Google to Draw FTC Attention to Similar Kids In-App Purchasing Issue
 

Macman1993

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2007
337
16
I still don't see why this is a government issue. Its was clearly in the settings to disable the 30 minute window after entering a password. Apple should refund them because its the right thing to do, but I don't see why the government should be getting involved.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,384
19,073
This doesn't really seem like tattling; it seems more bizarre that Apple was being singled out over something Google was equally guilty of.

Tattled? Is this place being run by children?!


Perhaps Freddie Lounds is behind this story.
 

Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,031
5,641
This isn't telling the teacher your classmate is being naughty, it's massive companies who should be treated equally by the likes of the FTC. So I don't see the problem with Apple suggesting the FTC look at Google over the same issues.
 

Komrad808

macrumors member
May 23, 2010
92
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On an active volcano
You mean Apple pointed the finger at Google also. IDK if "Tattled" is the word to describe it. When it comes to taking advantage of a family with money, especially with the younger kids. Apple said "ok, we were wrong, refund." Apple saw Google taking advantage of families too and said "stop and pay up too, its wrong we both stealing candy from kids."
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
8,919
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Apple wets diaper, blames Google

A spokespersons for Google issued this statement, “Apple is a poo-poo head”, and was afterwards put down for a nap.
 

Fred Stein

macrumors newbie
Sep 22, 2012
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Los Altos CA
I'm glad to see the FTC taking action. But where were they when phone companies have been cramming, when teen-agers racked up massive messaging charges for years, when airlines slam with extra charges, ditto cable/sat tv companies that keep adding on charges? I'm on "do not call" and get solicitors all the time.

As far as I can tell, both Apple and Google are FAR LESS guilty than so many others. Both have been quick to remedy. Maybe that is why they rate so highly in customer sat surveys.

Now, T-Mobile's CEO is fighting back too, basically making the same case as Apple and Google.

Is Apple tattling? or are they asking the FTC to play fair?

Maybe the FTC should start with companies that have low customer sat ratings to find the real predators.
 

ChazUK

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2008
5,394
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Essex (UK)
I read "tattled" as "informed them of similar issues on a rival platform".

Can't see much wrong in that myself.
 

numlock

macrumors 68000
Mar 13, 2006
1,588
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since its affecting users beyond just the ios platform i cant see what is wrong with making the ftc aware of it. hopefully they are adequate enough in their job that they didnt need this heads up.

but i dont like the side of apple this shows.
 

dogulas

macrumors newbie
May 22, 2014
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Why would Tim Cook spend time complaining about what a "Toxic Hellstew" is doing? He brushes Android aside, saying it is pathetic and hardly worth mentioning, and then turns around and does this? Slightly inconsistent.
 

PocketSand11

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2014
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Apple and Google are getting grilled by hundreds of parents who trusted their kids with their money. Mostly the parents' fault… but (most) in-app purchases are stupid and should die, so I have no sympathy for either company :cool:
 

dogulas

macrumors newbie
May 22, 2014
4
0
since its affecting users beyond just the ios platform i cant see what is wrong with making the ftc aware of it. hopefully they are adequate enough in their job that they didnt need this heads up.
It is just inconsistent of Tim. One minute he is dismissing Android as having negligible impact or value on the industry, and the next he is concerning himself with it as if Android is on par with iOS. Says one thing at conferences, behaves differently elsewhere.
 

firedept

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Jul 8, 2011
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I think what Apple did was right considering the market share that Google holds. If I am correct, it is larger than Apple's, so therefore Google stood to profit more from the same thing the FTC was going after Apple for.
 
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PocketSand11

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2014
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I think what Apple did was right considering the market share that Google holds. If I am correct, it is larger that Apple's, so therefore Google stood to profit more from the same thing the FTC was going after Apple for.
The App Store actually produces more profit for Apple than Google Play produces for Google, currently.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
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You mean Apple pointed the finger at Google also. IDK if "Tattled" is the word to describe it. When it comes to taking advantage of a family with money, especially with the younger kids. Apple said "ok, we were wrong, refund." Apple saw Google taking advantage of families too and said "stop and pay up too, its wrong we both stealing candy from kids."
You make it sound like Apple took a look at themselves and said, ‘Hmmm we can be more responsible if we….it’s the right thing to do’.
I’m not sure they did. What I do think is that Apple reacted to massive global pressure from parents, users and orgs like the consumers association.
I love Apple products but the company is cut throat make no mistake.