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

in-app-purchaseEarlier 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.

Top Rated Comments

BillyBobBongo Avatar
96 months ago
Tattled? Is this place being run by children?!
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D.T. Avatar
96 months ago
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.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Porco Avatar
96 months ago
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.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jon1987 Avatar
96 months ago
'Tattled'... Just love the language this site is using lately :rolleyes:
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
96 months ago
The situations were not really the same at all.

iOS
[LIST=1]
* Parent used password to install kid's app, handed device to kid.
* Unbeknownst to the parent, in-app purchases were ALSO enabled for the next 15 minutes.
* Child piled up hundreds of dollars in purchases, which Apple waited to aggregate and sometime later send in a receipt to the parent. (In my case, I continued to get receipts for several days after the 15 minutes was up.)


Android
[LIST=1]
* Parent used password to install kid's app, handed device to kid.
* Kid hits an in-app purchase. Parent has to enter password AGAIN.
* Unless the parent had turned on a 30 minute timeout, the password was required for EACH in app purchase.
* Unlike with Apple, each purchase immediately triggered a receipt email, so even if the password timeout was enabled, the parent stood a chance of knowing.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
96 months ago
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.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

General black friday 20 sale feature 2

Best Black Friday Deals on Apple Watch, AirPods Pro, MacBook Pro, More

Wednesday November 24, 2021 8:06 am PST by
Black Friday 2021 has kicked off, and you can now get some of the year's best deals on numerous Apple products. In this article we're providing a quick summary of all the best sales we've seen so far this season. For more on the best sales happening this week, visit our Black Friday Roundup. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
iphone holiday

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Available Today

Friday November 26, 2021 4:58 am PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models in holidays past, and Black Friday 2021 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like iPhone SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you...
airpods pro blue holiday 3

Black Friday: AirPods Pro With MagSafe Drop to $159 on Amazon

Tuesday November 23, 2021 9:12 am PST by
Amazon is now matching Walmart's price on the AirPods Pro with MagSafe, available for $159.00, down from $249.00. These are shipped and sold directly from Amazon, and although stock is low you can still get them in time for the holidays (mid December as of writing). Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a...
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Delays iOS 15 Feature for Adding Your Driver's License to Your iPhone Until Early 2022

Tuesday November 23, 2021 9:35 am PST by
Apple recently updated its website to indicate that an upcoming iOS 15 and watchOS 8 feature that will let you add your driver's license or state ID to your iPhone and Apple Watch in participating U.S. states has been delayed until early 2022. Apple previously said the feature would launch in late 2021. In September, Apple said Arizona and Georgia would be among the first states to introduce ...
airpods 3 blue holiday 2

Black Friday: AirPods 3 Hit Record Low Price of $149.99 ($29 Off)

Thursday November 25, 2021 6:10 am PST by
Amazon has introduced a new record low price on the AirPods 3, available for $149.99, down from $179.00. At $29 off, this sale price beats the one that we were tracking earlier this week by about $5 and it's only available on Amazon as of writing. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which ...
airpods pro pink holiday

Black Friday: AirPods Pro With MagSafe Hit Lowest Ever Price

Tuesday November 23, 2021 7:47 am PST by
Apple's AirPods Pro with the new MagSafe Charging Case is now available for its lowest ever price thanks to Black Friday sales. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The limited-time deal is available at both Amazon and Walmart, which are both...
apple watch cellular holiday

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Available Today

Friday November 26, 2021 4:55 am PST by
The Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, and for Black Friday 2021 we're tracking a few solid offers on numerous models of the Apple Watch. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on the new Apple Watch 7, but the best money-saving discounts will be found on older models like the Apple Watch Series 3 and SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Available Today

Friday November 26, 2021 4:48 am PST by
Although Black Friday sales began as early as October in 2021, the shopping holiday is now officially underway and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad Pro and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a...