Apple hinted to the FTC that the agency should investigate the Google Play Store

Apple hinted to the FTC that the agency should investigate the Google Play Store
Back in January of this year, Apple agreed with the FTC and refunded $32.5 million for app purchases made by children using the Apple App Store, without parental approval. And the story might have ended there, dying a journalistic death. But as it turns out, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell subsequently sent an email to the FTC, telling the agency that it should investigate the rival Google Play Store based on a magazine article.

Sewell's email, which was obtained by POLITICO following a Freedom of Information Act request, said, "I thought this article might be of some interest, particularly if you have not already seen it." The article, which was published by Consumer Reports, criticized Google for allowing children to spend at the Google Play Store "like a drunken sailor" for 30 minutes after an adult entered a password. Apple had a similar 15 minute window, that allowed children to pay for in-app purchases made after a parent entered a password.

The FTC started looking into in-app purchases after the story of Lilly Neale became public. 8-year old Lilly spent $6000 on in-app purchases by memorizing her parent's password. With her father away on business, emails from Apple were missed, and Lilly's Dad had his bank account frozen. Apple refunded the money.

Both Apple and Google have made changes to their app stores this year. Google is reportedly the target of a lawsuit over in-app purchases, and is being questioned about these purchases by European regulators. Last week, Amazon said that it is under investigation by the FTC, although it says that it has refunded in-app purchases made without parental consent.

Since Apple, Google and Amazon each receive a percentage of developer's revenue for in-app purchases, it obviously was to each firm's advantage to maximize such sales.

source: POLITICO via AppleInsider



1. Ninetysix

Posts: 2962; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Sounds fair. Everyone should have the same treatment and refund any $$$ before the new policies was in place.

2. sgodsell

Posts: 7220; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Point the finger at someone else to get the bad press off me. Sounds fair. Apple has learned this from Microsoft.

16. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Exactly. And of course Apple would do that....they dont want to take the fall by themselves. So sick of Apple at times.

20. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Misery loves company. Apple counsel probably turned Amazon in to the Feds as well.

22. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Lol..:) Nice childish act by Apple. They made me memorize my childhood where I'll point my finger at my friends saying "they are also doing the same" or "he was with me":) but in this case i think it is the parents responsibility. Also its nice of Apple to refund their customer, i honestly think they don't have to. Kudos to apple in that regard.

54. Topcat488

Posts: 1415; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

Apple didn't refund nothing willingly, they fought tooth and nails, not to. They finally gave in when they knew they were going to lose. I also think they (Apple) not only help the FTC, but are probably in with NSA, CIA, and all the others that Edward Snowden, warned us about. O.o

55. Ninetysix

Posts: 2962; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

How in the world did Apple lose when RoundHouseMcGee said that Apple/Google/Amazon doesn't need to pay anything?

45. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Isn't that what most Fandroids do all day? Point fingers at Apple? I mean hey, no shame in that, if you don't mind being an egotistical arrogant fanboy in plane sight...

53. huhblub

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 18, 2014

And what do you do to android fans? Nothing huh?douchebag

51. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Did Microsoft sleep with your significant other?, tell us how Microsoft points fingers , paid Google troll.

24. Ashoaib

Posts: 3276; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

this apple's move reminded me one of my colleague who used to come late at office and when interogated by the manager, he answered about some other staff in the company who sometime come late... "they also come late so I havent done anything wrong"

32. billgates

Posts: 555; Member since: May 29, 2014

As a manager that happens more than you know. No one takes their punishment without trying to drag.someone else down.

37. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

I can only seem to find one lawsuit against Google for in-app purchases by a child and it was for $66. Do the same search for Apple and you see where one kid purchased $6K worth of stuff and the Dad had to freeze his bank account because of it! I'm sorry but that is completely unacceptable for there to be no warnings going off after someone drops over a grand for in app purchases, and $6 grand is absurd. I would also think that iDevices are more commonly used more by children than Android devices, so the law of averages kicks in, though you still have the ones where the parents gives their phone to their kids to play with and then see they went on a spending spree. The crazy part is Apple already payed $100 Mil back in 2013 for the same thing!

42. TheGenius

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

Thats a cheap trick !

47. engineer-1701d unregistered

its easier to just have the apps stores know that the person is under 18 and needs account holder permission to pay for it, you cant get a phone in your name unless 18 anyways.

3. HASHTAG unregistered

This is at no one's fault other than the irresponsible parents/people who can't keep control of their children and their devices and blames anyone but themselves.

5. mcaleer1

Posts: 17; Member since: Jul 08, 2014

Says the person with no children.

10. needa

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

says the person with children.

15. RoundhouseMcGee

Posts: 188; Member since: May 25, 2014

What a stupid comment. So one has to own children to know what responsibility is? One must have children to know the difference between right and wrong? For our futures sake, I hope you are childless, if that's what you plan on teaching them. "Don't worry Timmy, it's always someone else's fault and someone will always bail you out! That's my snowflake!"

17. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I have children...and hash is 100% correct. Thats what child proof pill bottles are for and child gates to keep them out the kitchen, off the stairs, etc.

31. mcaleer1

Posts: 17; Member since: Jul 08, 2014

I agree that's what child gates and child proof bottle caps are for. However apple by default had a 15 min. window for users to shop without entering their password once entered.

48. engineer-1701d unregistered

here you go dont give your freaking kids a iphone people what the hell they wont die without one. i had a life as a kid just fine without one. with realy friends not online friends

38. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Hash is correct! I have kids as well, but they don't know the passwords. I also removed my debit card from our Apple ID to avoid this and only add gift cards to avoid this exact thing. Once those are gone; sorry kids!

23. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013


26. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Don't produce if you can't manage them(a message to parents:) )

4. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Here we go, rioting in 3... 2... 1

6. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Huh, Apple is beginning to sound like MS...

7. RoundhouseMcGee

Posts: 188; Member since: May 25, 2014

Poor desperate apple. This is just pathetic. It is not Google's responsibility to ensure some bratty kid doesn't steal from their parents, or to ensure idiot parents don't secure their tablets/phones/wallets.

9. Ninetysix

Posts: 2962; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Not sure if serious? Apple refunded these types of puchases but Google shouldn't? What makes you think Google should have special treatment for the exact same thing? Google will look bad if they don't do any refunds.

11. RoundhouseMcGee

Posts: 188; Member since: May 25, 2014

That was apple's choice. Neither them nor Google owed these people s***. If your kid hops in your car and smashes it into a brick wall, do you sue Ford for not making it child proof? Well, an apple fan might, but most reasonable people would realize that was entirely their fault. Watch your kids and don't allow them unrestricted unmonitored online access. Or, here's an even more radical idea, there's this great new thing called "parenting", these folks should try it sometime. In my day we had video game hotlines and various other paid services. My parents made it crystal clear to me not to call them or there would be consequences. Never knew what the consequences were, never cared to find out.

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