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Apple responds to EC complaints by touting iTunes' app controls as 'leading the industry,' cites...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
In response to complaints published by European Commission regulators regarding In App Purchases, Apple has issued a statement outlining that it already does more than anyone else in the industry, and will be further enhancing its efforts to secure app purchases by children in iOS 8 this fall.


Apple's recently added in-app purchase labels on iOS (left) and iTunes on Mac.


"Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store," the company noted in response to the complaints of European regulators.

"The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We've also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 13.

"These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry. But we are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we're adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store.

"Our goal is to continue to provide the best experience for our customers and we will continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns."

iOS 8 Family Sharing



Apple's new "Ask to Buy" feature in the upcoming iOS 8 is part of a series of features branded as Family Sharing and featured in a special section of the company's iOS 8 preview.

Family Sharing iOS 8


Apple notes that after parents enable 'Ask to Buy,' iTunes will "require children to get permission before making iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases. You can even create Apple IDs for children under 13 years old so they can participate, too."

Ask to Buy iOS 8


The new Family Sharing features in iOS 8 are slated to allow families to link their Apple ID accounts so that members can share the same content purchases, contribute photos to shared albums, share calendars, and locate family members and their iOS devices on the map.

iOS 8 is expected to ship this fall.
post #2 of 21

Dear European Commission,

 

fsck you.

 

Strong letter to follow,

Apple

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 21
The phone is now a buying device just like a credit card. Duh. Don't give it to your kids...
post #4 of 21

I believe that Apple is doing the right thing, especially with the release of 8.

 

The problem I see here is that, except for announcing their intentions to this manner, they haven't formally informed the EU or for that matter anyone else. And as anyone who has followed Apple, and in particular when Steve was around, it was always Apple's strategy to keep things  secret until they had something tangible to offer. Which by the way, I applaud whole heartedly.

 

Perusing some of the media reporting, it is interesting the commonality being reported to Apple's response. Virtually every news source prefaced Apple's boilerplate response, "Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store…" with for example,

 

  • El Reg: "A spokesman for Apple told El Reg, there is no probs…"Apple takes great pride…""
  • Engadget: "Apple provided the following statement to Engadget…Apple takes great pride…"
  • Tech Times: "In response to the EU criticism, Apple said in a published statement that it clearly labels games that require in-app purchasing…Apple takes great pride…"
  • The Enquirer: "Apple responded, and said it does more than anybody else in the industry with regards to in-app purchases. A spokesperson said,…Apple takes great pride…"
  • MacObserver: "Apple, however, has not announced any changes to its App Store in EU member countries. Instead, the company issued a statement to Engadget today saying, "Apple takes great pride…"

 

Not that I have positive proof, but there is some evidence again, that Apple hasn't as yet formally informed the EU as Engadget earlier reported, "Apple’s plan appears to be to discuss its plans and policies around in-app purchases with individual EU member states on a case-by-case basis, which makes sense given the European Commission says that any further enforcement around IAP is now up to individual nations to decide." 

 

Update: Engadget just revised their page to read in part: 

Quote:
"Meanwhile, the EU said that Apple has "regrettably" not provided any firm solutions or timetable to address its concerns, though it added that Cupertino has promised to attack the problem. Apple was already forced to implement alerts in iOS 7.1 warning users of in-app buys, following lawsuits and a scuffle with the FCC. It has also implemented other parental controls, as shown in its Parents' Guide to iTunes. Meanwhile, the European Commission said that enforcement is now in the hands of individual EU nations, which will need to decide on their own how to punish developers currently facing legal action.
 
Update: In response to the EU's remarks, Apple has given us the following statement: "Apple takes great pride in leading the industry…"

 

 

To now, Apple has not released the above mentioned statement on their site or via a press release.

 

Incidentally, I'll wager there are few even here who are apprised how much Apple has already implemented means to restrict usage or purchasing iOS apps.

post #5 of 21
When will the bureaucrats learn that writing code to protect the irresponsible from themselves is not as easy as picking their own noses? It takes time and a huge collective effort to do it right, do it well, and make it easy for the responsible parents while not allowing some six year old to hack the system to circumvent the controls. Like blazar said, if you can't be responsible for your own finances, don't give your kid a credit card enabled phone.

Then again, in a nanny state, what parent needs to be responsible?

The sooner the bureaucrats pull their collective heads out of their collective backsides they will actually see and smell more than the massive mound of manure they keep trying to feed us. They could at least wipe the crud out of there eyes and read the massive amount of text that has been written about iOS 8 and all the great features to come. Perhaps I'm asking too much of them. Bureaucrats are known for not doing their research. They prefer a knee-jerk reaction (emphasis on jerk) to a minor problem just for the headlines than to fix the major problems that most of their 'edicts' create.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

The phone is now a buying device just like a credit card. Duh. Don't give it to your kids...

+1. Manage your damn kids. You can't expect Apple to do everything. Parents need to parent
post #7 of 21
I'm qurious if they offered their take on a solution. Just about everyone can armchair problems all day.

So is it each EU member has different solutions in mind, or are they all stating they don't like the current control system and are expecting different solutions? Expecting different solutions without offering even a vague example? Seems like every year Apple makes the system more robust, and each year the EU says "that's not it!"

It may be that I'm shortsighted but having a big notification showing up on the account holders phone asking permission if their child can buy an app or IAP can't be much more straight forward. Maybe make the phone ring, light up and vibrate also?

This whole irresponsibility for IAP's is just plain going way too far.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunner1954 View Post

The sooner the bureaucrats pull their collective heads out of their collective backsides they will actually see and smell more than the massive mound of manure they keep trying to feed us. They could at least wipe the crud out of there eyes and read the massive amount of text that has been written about iOS 8 and all the great features to come. 

You are asking too much. 

 

If you recall, the masses castigated Jobs because he was so secretive for what was to come. Then, when he began to come forth, the masses continued to dump on his predictions. And even when they came to fruition, the criticisms abounded. No matter how right he was, he was wrong.

 

Right now there are millions of Apple haters who aren't or won't accept anything that's Apple. Look at how many PC'rs continue to declare Mac's vulnerability to viruses. And the number who are bent on creating one. Look at the number of Blackberry users. Android users. Diehards that will be there until their baby daughters or sons turn 2. Unfortunately, most won't have kids.

 

The Mac and iOS's aren't taking over MS, Android or PC in the eyes of most. There are nearly 6 billion people on earth and according to virtually anyone who has electricity, a PC is a the end of their cord.

 

I keep on saying, Apple's strategy is not to appease everyone. Microsoft tried that and look where they are headed. Google the same, and look at what they've dumped on society. Better yet. Look around at your own friends and colleagues who continue to scorn the sight of Mac, iPhone or iPad. To many of them, Apple is ripping you off. And that thought will continue well after iOS 8 and future OS X's to come.

 

As for bureaucrats, their job is viable as long as they appease the masses. And look how well the world is doing for the masses.

post #9 of 21
I think the EU was off by one letter...FU.
post #10 of 21

I think it's just the use of the word "free" that is annoying the bureaucrats. It means "free to download" (that's why it's on the download button) but they take it as meaning the product, in it's entirety, is free (which it isn't in the case in IAP).

post #11 of 21
Plenty of games with IAP are free. Forever.

IAP can be highly optional. For example: ad removal, optional level packs, "cheat and unlock without trying just because I want the fun and not the challenge," etc. None of those are even gray areas.

CONSUMABLE IAP (like in-game currency used to progress) is less clear-cut because it's a spectrum between "no need for it ever" to "really designed to push you into it again and again" (like Candy Crush). But consumable IAP is just one subset of free gaming with IAP.

What Apple should do is list specifically what the game's IAPs are before you even download the game. Are they coin packs? Ad removal? A Part II you can play if you liked Part I? Etc.

Oh wait.... Apple has already done that... ages ago.

A nice feature--NOT necessary, not worth regulating, but nice--would be to specially single out apps that use CONSUMABLE IAP. Those are the potential bottomless pits, and if you're afraid if saying No to your kids, you might want the option to disable that entire category.
post #12 of 21

It is just another government attempt to blackmail another company and fine them to cover the governments continue over spending. Maybe the EU want to use this money to bailout the Portugal Banks

post #13 of 21

Come on now, there must be a way for EU countries to make more money off Apple! :rolleyes: 

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmythe00 View Post


+1. Manage your damn kids. You can't expect Apple to do everything. Parents need to parent

A freaking men.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dclay13 View Post

A freaking men.

Women need to get involved too.

Parenting is not a single sex responsibility.

1wink.gif
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

It is just another government attempt to blackmail another company and fine them to cover the governments continue over spending. Maybe the EU want to use this money to bailout the Portugal Banks

They aren't just going after Apple. They already have extorted Google for the Play Store. Same B.S. Europe continues to go after businesses that make a lot of money to pay for their failing social programs.

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloydbm4 View Post
 

They aren't just going after Apple. They already have extorted Google for the Play Store. Same B.S. Europe continues to go after businesses that make a lot of money to pay for their failing social programs.

1- You must not be aware of how modern capitalism work. Primer, American businesses extort the world to pay for their failing model. Heard of the words "financial crisis"?

2- If Google and Apple aren't happy, they're welcome to get the f*** out. Free information, they're not getting out any time soon, which shows they're more reasonable than you are.

3- Governments actually make whatever laws they feel like doing, and they're certainly not going to ask you, other than by way of elections if you are an elector, which doesn't sound like it's the case. Ain't it sad.

4- Read "Who owns the Future". It's American-made. You might understand how "failing social programs" are actually this expensive because of America's broken system. We Europeans are starting to have had enough of paying for your retirement plans, you know? How about instead of whining, you actually get yourselves a decent socialist system? Oh, wait. Political blindness.

 

 

Apart from these quite obvious dissent-of-opinion points, where I actually understand that many people here might disagree with me and 400 million other Europeans (give or take), and billions of other non-American people, I think that several commenters here have expressed their opinion that "people should take responsibility for their actions". That's exactly what the EU is trying to do, imho. Currently, techspeak is making things unclear to non-tech-literate parents, and these are VERY common among Apple-users, who choose their machines because they "just work", "no manual needed". (Yes, I'm a Apple-power-user, as many on these forums, but we AppleInsider Commenters are NOT representative of the average Apple user). Hop on a commuter train and look at the people holding iPhones. Look at the people working from MacBookPro's. How many have even a clue what "fusion drive" is? How many should be expected to know what IAP is? Answer, very few.

 

To the person who stated that everyone should know the law, that's actually not true. You're not expected to know the law when it relates to obscure elements, typically technical points. A pilot is supposed to know about flight routes, but not his passengers. An IT staff cannot claim ignorance of the law if torrenting illegal material, even if caught for the first time, when normal people get a "first offense" reprieve.

 

I think the person who stated that people should be aware that games cost money to make and stop wishing for "free" everything is very right. In the end, if YOU (everyone) live for free, YOU (everyone) will also starve, because your own revenue will evaporate like the revenues of the ones you starved, right?

 

Finally, I think this is partly due to the complexity of the AppStore. There is no "Trial Version" possibility, so people do "free with IAP", which imho is sleazy, but I can tell you my producers heavily disagree with me. People make all sorts of horrible things also with IAP, like crippling a game/software (sometimes, even a paid one). People also sometimes make very appropriate IAP (ProCreate comes to mind). These should be curated by Apple in different categories: Trial, Lite/IAP, Full with extensions/addons/chapters...

 

Disclaimer: This is my opinion, based on the fact that I'm an European developer of Apple-devices software who spent most of his working career paying, like other Europeans, for America's failure to run a successful capitalist model without having the rest of the world pay America's debt off, something that many Americans probably don't even realize.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #18 of 21
If it's the EU's responsibility to protect its members/citizens by enforcing Apple and other device manufacturers to provide "appropriate safeguards" against this sort of thing, then haven't they been negligent up till now by still allowing the devices to be sold? Without adequately informing their members/citizens of the risks? It seems to me that they should be held at least partially culpable!
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenly View Post

If it's the EU's responsibility to protect its members/citizens by enforcing Apple and other device manufacturers to provide "appropriate safeguards" against this sort of thing, then haven't they been negligent up till now by still allowing the devices to be sold? Without adequately informing their members/citizens of the risks? It seems to me that they should be held at least partially culpable!

I am pretty sure nobody really wants FDA-style "authorization of sales" agreements for devices, and apart from that, or massive governments, which is also bad (and expensive), governments will always be slower than technology. IAP is a small issue, and even one that can reasonably be debated (some people think the system is just fine as it is, and that might end up as the conclusion).

 

Note, most European citizens who are aware of the workings of Europe (which, I guess, is not that many people...) understand that the Commission are the Political Animals. Obviously, most lobbying happens with the Commission. It may be that the Commission genuinely finds the issue concerning, or it maybe that Google or Samsung argued successfully through the proper lobbyists and convinced them. This is, like with the Senate in the USA, how modern democracy works, and if this feels contrived to you, it also does to us. Now imagine that what happens with IAP also happens with Monsanto's ugly GMO hacks. Feeling safer?

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

I am pretty sure nobody really wants FDA-style "authorization of sales" agreements for devices, and apart from that, or massive governments, which is also bad (and expensive), governments will always be slower than technology. IAP is a small issue, and even one that can reasonably be debated (some people think the system is just fine as it is, and that might end up as the conclusion).

Note, most European citizens who are aware of the workings of Europe (which, I guess, is not that many people...) understand that the Commission are the Political Animals. Obviously, most lobbying happens with the Commission. It may be that the Commission genuinely finds the issue concerning, or it maybe that Google or Samsung argued successfully through the proper lobbyists and convinced them. This is, like with the Senate in the USA, how modern democracy works, and if this feels contrived to you, it also does to us. Now imagine that what happens with IAP also happens with Monsanto's ugly GMO hacks. Feeling safer?

You do understand that F.D.A. Stands for Food and Drug Administration right? In my opinion that organization could be a LOT more stringent.

The IAP item of topic is just a big ghost problem which is being extremely overblown by the media.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Shadow View Post


You do understand that F.D.A. Stands for Food and Drug Administration right? In my opinion that organization could be a LOT more stringent.

The IAP item of topic is just a big ghost problem which is being extremely overblown by the media.

Of course I do. That's why I said "FDA-style", not "FDA". Other than that, I agree that this organisation could be more stringent, very much so, and you are pretty spot on the IAP issue. Isn't that what the media does, though, overblow topics to sell papers/eyeball time?

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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