Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Free Apps Are No Longer Free


There has been a slight change in the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) app store. The ‘free’ button has been switched with ‘get’ button. This is in an effort to be more precise about the probable costs of the app purchases.

This was in response to Christian Science Monitor report that quoted European Commission. The Commission seems to be of the view that features that haven’t been labelled could mislead consumers. Insignificant transactions for power-ups as well as add-ons quickly pile up in to a bigger bill than the customer usually anticipates. The European Commission is aiming to stop app sellers from charging consumers without their knowledge. Some of these free apps have tiny costs attached with them. As a result of this observation, app sellers have stopped labelling any of their apps as ‘free’.

Amongst other app sellers, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has also made similar changes to its app stores in Europe. This change took place last summer. It has now labelled its free to download apps with ‘install’ button, instead of ‘free’ button, the Monitor has observed. The changes implemented by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) are worldwide.

Analysts who have criticized the business model that involves labelling apps as free and then later on making add-on purchase mandatory, have welcomed this move. Re/code has written that according to statistics, 92% of iOS revenue are generated from the free-to-play business model that has become dominant in the industry. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Play has generated 98% revenue, in 2013. Critics are of the view that games which can be played for free, are designed in a way that damages gaming experience and goes on to influence players into buying unwanted apps.

Earlier this year, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has had an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission that restricts that tech company to pay back a minimum amount of $32.5 million to consumers who were not the actual buyers; it was actually their children who engaged in un-authorized purchases that have brought the bills up to hundreds of dollars on a single transaction. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has also been cornered by FCC and might have to agree on capital as a pay-back to consumers.

The vice president of App Annie, Marcos Sanchez has revealed in a statement to Re/code that he feels that even if these companies change their app formats, it is not likely to have a useful impact on buying habits users practice. However, he did point out that his observation could be inaccurate and it might actually have a positive impact, as he was noted to have said that insignificant changes can have significant impact that may lead to positive results.

It is integral for users to keep an eye on what they are buying and whether their purchases are followed up with add-ons. It is particularly important to be careful, especially when these apps are used by children who might purchase follow-ons in their innocence. ]

There should be some sort of parental control that guardians exercise when children use these apps to engage in their digital activities.