Google, Apple, and Amazon under fire over freemium app sales model

best android tablet apps version 1432138873

Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority launched an investigation that looks at the popular freemium app sales model currently in use in Google’s Play Store, Apple’s App Store, and Amazon’s Appstore.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the committee launched the investigation under the justification that customers could be misled by the “free” label. According to the regulator, anyone who downloads those apps believing that they are free, only for them to be unknowingly charged for items within the app. While all three app stores, as well as Gameloft, are on the hook, Google could face fines up to €5 million (~$6.9 million) if found to have mislead users.

The freemium app sales model, a common model found in use across all three app stores, involves offering your app for free. Within the app, users are then allowed to purchase features or items, such as in-game currency and items for your in-game character. Google has had trouble in the past with freemium apps, with a mother suing the company back in March, accusing the company for having the Play Store as a place where games and apps lure children into spending money.

This is not the first time the Italian antitrust committee fined a company for business practices considered damaging to consumers. Back in 2011, the committee fined Apple €900,000 ($1.2 million) for misleading customers into purchasing AppleCare, the company’s extended warranty plans, for products that were already covered. Apple also received another smaller fine before the company finally changed the way it marketed AppleCare.

Android Authority’s Jonathan Feist found that 147 out of the top 150 grossing apps in the Play Store are freemium apps. It’s unknown whether the investigation will solely focus on the freemium app sales model or whether the committee will also look into paid apps that offer in-app purchases. According to the committee, the investigation will likely be concluded before the end of the year.

Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?
Home Theater

Make the most out of your new Apple TV with these must-have apps

If you're looking to turn your fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K into an all-in-one entertainment powerhouse, we can help you get started with this list of the best Apple TV apps you can download.
Deals

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.
Gaming

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently out there

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game streaming services.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: Which should you buy?

With four stunning Galaxy S10 phones to choose from, Samsung is bombarding us with choice, but which one should you buy? We compare the S10, S10 Plus, S10e, and S10 5G in various categories to find out exactly how they differ.
Wearables

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active can track your blood pressure

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down the gym.
Mobile

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 this year

The Samsung Galaxy S10 boasts a number of hardware improvements over previous Samsung phones, but it also offers a few software improvements too. Adobe Premiere Rush CC, for example, is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 later this year.
Gaming

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.
Mobile

From folding phones to 5G -- here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event treated us to a real parade of technological excellence, from folding phones to new fitness wearables. Here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked on February 20.
Mobile

Google’s radical Gmail redesign is finally rolling out on Android

Google is slowly but surely giving its apps a refresh, modernizing them and ensuring that they're easy to use. The latest app to get a redesign is the Gmail app for Android, which has been redesigned with a few tweaks.
Mobile

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus cases to protect your $1,000 phone

Can't get enough of big phones? The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is absolutely up your alley. But it's still fragile, and damage is easily gathered through normal life. Protect it with the best Galaxy S10 Plus cases.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy S9: How much better is Samsung’s new flagship?

You'd naturally expect the Samsung Galaxy S10 to be better than last year's S9, but just how do the two phones differ? We break down the specs and compare Samsung's flagships in various categories to pick a winner.
Product Review

The Galaxy Watch Active is the right size for you, no matter how big or small your wrist is

Launched among a massive array of other new products, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active could easily have been missed at Galaxy Unpacked 2019 -- which would be unfortunate. This is a sensibly designed, correctly sized smartwatch suitable for…
Mobile

Protect and style your Samsung Galaxy S10 with the best cases and covers

If you've splashed the cash for a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S10, then you'll want to take steps to protect your investment. With a metal frame and glass curves, the S10 needs some cover. Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S10 cases.