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Apple's been ordered to pay $32 million over in-app purchases, and it's not fighting back

by Mike Rougeau

January 16 2014

Apple has to change its ways—but apparently it was going to do so anyway.

The FTC has triumphed over Apple in a suit related to microtransactions, and now the iPad maker has been court-ordered to pay out $32.5 million in refunds to parents who said their kids made in-app purchases on their tablets and smartphones that they never authorized.

Everyone has heard horror stories about kids blowing hundreds of dollars on exploitative free-to-play games, but the example being highlighted in these reports is particularly troublesome: a young girl apparently spent $2,600 in Tap Pet Hotel. Obviously parents should be watching what their kids do on a device that stores their credit card information, but that seems extreme—and the court apparently agreed. In addition to the $32.5 million, Apple has been ordered to alter its billing process to prevent the same from happening in the future.

The thing is, if Apple's never-ending patent war with Samsung—or any of the many other lawsuits it's constantly embroiled in—is any indication, the company never gives up a legal fight without exhausting every possible avenue for appeal and counter-action. But not this time; Apple will reportedly pay the money and change its ways. And that's apparently because it was already planning to do so.

"It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled," Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly said in a memo to employees. "To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight."

Did the court make the right choice? Is Apple responsible for exploitative IAP schemes, or are developers? Or should the responsibility fall squarely with parents who let their kids run rampant on tablets? (Via Destructoid)

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