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Saturday, May 17, 2014
Italy Launched Inverstigation Into Google's Practices Carried Out By Google, iTunes, Amazon And Gameloft

The Italian Competition Authority has launched an investigation into the behavior of two companies of the Google group, iTunes, Amazon and game developer Gameloft for alleged unfair commercial practices.

The Italian Competition Authority (Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) will determine whether the four companies are misleading customers by advertising mobile game apps as free, when in fact purchases are required to continue playing beyond a certain point, the regulator said in a statement.

The probe will verify whether the conducts can be regarded as unfair commercial practices: consumers could falsely believe that the game is entirely free and, in any case, that they would know in advance the full cost s of the game. Moreover, insufficient information seems to be provided to consumers about the settings needed to stop or limit the purchases within the App, the regulator said.

Apple declined to comment while Gameloft said it was looking into the issue but had no other comment. Google and Amazon did not respond to inquiries for comments.

The investigation would likely be concluded within seven to eight months, and each of the companies are facing a maximum fine of 5 million euros ($6.9 million).

The European Commission ha salso asked companies to revise their rules on apps that are advertised as free and can be downloaded at no cost, but which later require purchases that get charged to consumers' credit cards by default.

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