European Commission looks to end misleading in-app purchases in meeting with Google and Apple

Were you ever led to believe that an app was free to find out later that it wasn’t? Has your child accidentally made an in-app purchase? Don’t you wish someone would do something about this? Thankfully, the European Commission understands what you’re going through and has met with Google and Apple to end misleading in-app purchases.

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In a press release, the European Commission announced:

Commission and Member States to raise consumer concerns with app industry

Europe’s “app economy” is booming. It employs over 1 million people and is expected to be worth €63bn in the next five years. According to the external app analytics platform Distimo, around 80% of the revenue – estimated at over 10 billion EUR per year – of one supplier comes from purchases made by consumers from within an application by which consumers access special content or features, commonly called “in-app” purchases. For the app economy to develop its full potential and continue innovating, consumers need to trust the products. At present over 50% of the EU online games’ market consists of games advertised as “free”, although they often entail, sometimes costly, in-app purchases. Often consumers are not fully aware that they are spending money because their credit cards get charged by default. Children are particularly vulnerable to marketing of “free to download” games which are not “free to play”. Following complaints from all over Europe, the European Commission is meeting today and tomorrow (27 and 28 February) with national enforcement authorities and large tech companies in order to discuss these concerns. Industry will be asked to commit to providing solutions within a clear timeframe so as to ensure proper consumer protection for apps customers.

Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner said: “Europe’s app industry has enormous potential, both to generate jobs and growth, and to improve our daily lives through innovative technology. For the sector to deliver on its potential consumers must have confidence in new products. Misleading consumers is clearly the wrong business model and also goes against the spirit of EU rules on consumer protection. The European Commission will expect very concrete answers from the app industry to the concerns raised by citizens and national consumer organisations.”

Commissioner Neven Mimica, responsible for Consumer Policy said: “Consumers and in particular children need better protection against unexpected costs from in-app purchases. National enforcement authorities and the European Commission are discussing with industry how to address this issue which not only causes financial harm to consumers but can also put at stake the credibility of this very promising market. Coming up with concrete solutions as soon as possible will be a win-win for all.”

At the meetings with the industry, national enforcement authorities across the EU will present their common understanding of how to apply the relevant consumer rules in this area. The action is led by the Danish Consumer Ombudsman. France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and Lithuania, members of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network in charge of enforcing consumer rights across the EU, will be participating to the meetings as well.

The four most important issues raised by consumers and which will be discussed at the meetings are :

  • Games advertised as “free” should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved;
  • Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them;
  • Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements and purchases should not be debited through default settings without consumers’ explicit consent;
  • Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints.

Next Steps: The meetings are an opportunity for the Commission and Member State authorities to reach a common understanding with industry to address the concerns raised by consumers. In any case, the European Commission, together with the national consumer rights enforcement authorities will continue to follow up with any necessary action.

Want to know what happens next? We’ll keep you updated once more of the story unfolds.

Blackberry responds to Wyatt’s comments – says ‘Good is not good enough’

In an interview, Christy Wyatt, Good Technology CEO, said that her company was receiving a lot of calls from enterprise customers. BlackBerry responded by saying “Good is not good enough.”john-chen

In a blog post titled “Good is not Good Enough,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said, “BlackBerry has provided multi-platform OS management for nearly 2 years now, so let’s put that to rest. Good Technology may talk about 5,000 customers but with 30,000 new BES10 servers installed in the past year alone, I’d argue that we’re the ones getting the calls from customers.”

Chen added, “We’re fully transparent with our customers about what they get from us; our new pricing structure is crystal clear and most importantly, unlike other companies, when we say something is free, we mean that it’s free.”

Is BlackBerry threatened by Good Technology? Let us know what you think through a comment on our Phones Limited Facebook page.

Good Technology says it is getting a lot of calls from enterprise customers – is it killing BlackBerry?

According to Good Technology’s CEO, Christy Wyatt, her company is getting a number of calls from enterprise customers.ChristyWyatt_small

In an interview with Computing, Wyatt said, “We have a lot of customers calling us and saying ‘I have this BlackBerry population – I have to start giving [end users] access to other things, either because they want iPads and tablets as well as their BlackBerry, or because they want a broader number, but the kind of contracts they’re in would prevent them from doing that. If they had a contract that expired in June, but wanted to start migration and installation now – we’d say ‘fine, we’ll give you the software now’, you can start ramping up your users, so when your contract ends, you’re up and running.”

She added, “This isn’t about ‘let’s kick them when they’re down’, it’s more about having a lot of customers that have really significant problems with their mobility landscape, and I’d be more than happy to help them do that on BlackBerry devices.”

When asked if Good was trying to kill BlackBerry, she joked, “No! First of all, I’m Canadian… so no. I can never go home!

“There was a Canadian article that labelled me ‘the BlackBerry killer’, so I have to stay in California forever now.”

Is Good Technology killing Blackberry? Let us know what you think through a comment on our Phones Limited Facebook page.

‘The All New HTC One’ moniker leaked again

@evleaks, a Twitter account notorious for leaking information on yet to be unveiled devices, has been heavily leaking information on the HTC M8 (successor of the HTC One). Now it has again leaked what the Taiwanese firm is planning to call its next flagship.The-all-new-HTC-One

@evleaks has leaked what the HTC M8 will look like, leaking the device clad in a protective casing as well as the device’s three colour options. The Twitter account has also leaked the device’s moniker, saying it will be called “The All New HTC One.” Now it has leaked what appears to be HTC’s press slogan showing “The All New HTC One.”

The All New HTC One is rumoured to sport a 5-inch 1080p screen, a quad-core processor, a twin-sensor camera, and dual-LED flash. The Taiwanese phone maker is expected to officially unveil the device on the 25th of March in New York City, which is just a few weeks away.

Can’t wait to get your hands on The All New HTC One? Let us know through a comment on our Phones Limited Facebook page.

Photos of the HTC One (2014) in silver leaked

The HTC M8, The All New HTC One, or the HTC One (2014) has been heavily leaked in the internet. We’ve seen a number of leaks showing press renders of the device. Now the silver colour option of the device has been leaked in the wild.

Here are the photos:

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The leak comes to us via a HardForums member, which was spotted by Droid-Life. According to the site, “The uploader of the photos, a member of HardForums, said that the device was an evaluation model from HTC. He reports that the front-facing camera is 4 MP, and that the handset feels “thinner than the 2013 ONE [sic] and taller.””

According to reports, The All New HTC One will sport a 5-inch 1080p screen, either a Snapdragon 800 or Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a twin-sensor camera, and dual LED flash.

HTC is expected to officially unveil The All New HTC One on the 25th of March in New York City, a few weeks away. We’ll know by then if the rumours are true.

Do you think these leaked photos show The All New HTC One? Let us know what you think through a comment on our Phones Limited Facebook page.

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