Why Apple Made That Weird App Store Change

Apple App Store

If you visit Apple’s App Store, you’ll notice a small but significant change: The “Free” label beside free-to-download apps has been changed to “Get.”

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Why did Apple make such a move? It could have a lot to do with the European Commission (EC), the European Union’s antitrust body, which has pressured tech companies to do more about in-app purchases; the commission views the term “free” as misleading if an iPhone or iPad owner (or the owner’s children) can still pay money for features and upgrades after downloading the app. According to Engadget, Google has already removed “free” labeling from Google Play, its own app storefront, for similar reasons.

Apple has found itself in trouble over in-app purchases before, mostly due to angry parents complaining that the company and its developer partners made it too easy for Junior to spend several hundred dollars upgrading characters in supposedly “free” games. Apple refunded some of those erroneous downloads, and slapped warning labels on certain apps. Instituting “Get” could insulate the company still further from potential lawsuits. What a difference a word makes.

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One Response to “Why Apple Made That Weird App Store Change”

  1. jelabarre

    My alternative solution is that I do not have a credit card attached to the Google account on the tablet. If I need to purchase an app, I do it from my computer, and don’t save the account information.

    On the other hand, I think it would also be handy to have a utility (sort of a proxy/firewall) that would block the ability of “in-app” purchasing to work at all anyway. Something that would also block the ability of apps to bypass the install password (which, in general, should NEVER be allowed to work in any case).