FTC Says It Will Investigate iOS In-App Purchases, Per US Lawmaker's Request
On February 9th, we reported
that US Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) reached out to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) questioning Apple's "marketing practices of applications for Apple devices."Markey expressed his concern in a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Liebowtiz, citing examples of several accidental and costly in-app purchases, some of which were made by children playing with their mom or dad's iPhone. As many will recall, little Madison Kay went on a high-profile shopping spree of $99 batches of "Smurfberries" to the total sum value of $1,400.
This week, it turns out, the Federal Trade Commission responded to Congressman Markey's letter, promising to probe Apple's business practices relating to the concerns expressed. "We fully share your concern that consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz wrote. "Let me assure you we will look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivery of these types of applications." Markey later responded to the FTC note, saying he was pleased to see the FTC take such issues seriously. "As the use of mobile apps continues to increase, I will continue to actively monitor developments in this important area," Markey said, clearly aware of how much more dangerous to the American people in-app purchases are than, say, the federal deficit and global terrorism (insert sarcasm here).
Apple, naturally, hasn't offered formal comment on the matter, although the folks in Cupertino are no strangers to legal battles and other intensive watchdog probes. This latest accusation of "questionable business practices" follows Apple's recently announced and highly controversial subscription service for publishers - a situation that has already provoked a formal Justice Department antitrust review.
Source: Washington Post