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Apple’s Lawyer Finked on Google Over Kids In-App Purchases

Apple’s Lawyer Finked on Google Over Kids In-App Purchases

Remember when you were a kid, and someone got caught doing something they shouldn’t have, and they tattled on someone else for doing the same thing? Well, apparently Apple’s head lawyer remembers those days fondly, and snitched on Google to the Federal Trade Commission about Google’s in-app purchase policies.


According to a report from Politico, head Apple legal counsel Bruce Sewell sent the FTC a Consumer Reports article 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 Consumer Reports post said Google Play allowed children to “spend like a drunken sailor” once a password had been entered to allow purchases.

Politico used a Freedom of Information request to obtain an email from Apple’s general counsel to FTC head Edith Ramirez and Commissioner Julie Brill.

Apple has faced numerous complaints over in-app purchases in the past, with several reports of children spending thousands of dollars of their parents money without the knowledge of said parents. While those reports covered Apple’s woes, Google’s Play Store apps were similar, in that they allowed children to make in-app purchases for up to 30 minutes following the entry of a user password.

Apple eventually settled a class-action lawsuit filed against it, agreeing to provide both iTunes credit and cash refunds to the parents, but the FTC demanded more. The company eventually agreed to pay $32.5 million to settle the FTC accusations, and shortly thereafter is when Apple “finked” on Google.

With Apple now in the clear, the FTC has moved on to target Amazon over its own practices. As for Google, It’s unknown if the FTC is currently taking any action. The two sides could be discussing the matter, but we won’t know for sure until an FTC complaint or settlement is announced.

A class action suit against Google has been filed by a mother who says her 5-year-old spent $65 while playing “Marvel Run Jump Smash!” on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Google has responded with a request to dismiss the suit on technical grounds.