The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been on a crusade as of late to save the world from in-app purchases, and that's probably an okay crusade on which to be. The news has come down today that Google will be settling an FTC lawsuit by refunding about $19 million in unauthorized in-app purchases made by kids whose parents foolishly allowed them to go tapping around on their Android devices.
If you're a Norwegian Android developer, you might want to consider attending JavaZone, an independent Java programming and development conference being held in Oslo from September 9th through the 11th. If you're not, you can still enjoy this parody trailer for the event posted to the group's YouTube page. If you're at work or in public, heads up: the video below has some mild swearing.
To get all the in-jokes here you'd probably need a programming undergrad degree, a passing knowledge of George R.
Writing about the XBMC media center software almost always takes a little explanation. The open-source XBMC was formerly known as the "Xbox Media Center," because its first release way back in 2003 was based on the "Xbox Media Player" and intended to run on modified Xbox game consoles. Because the software no longer officially runs on the Xbox, and has never run on newer consoles like the Xbox 360, and in fact runs on a heck of a lot of hardware that bears no X at all, the creators have renamed the software "Kodi."
In addition to general confusion around the name and nomenclature for the project, the XBMC Foundation had a hard time with trademark and quality control.
While Apple was eventually forced into settling for $32.5 million in customer reimbursements during a similar investigation launched by the FTC last year, it seems Amazon isn't interested in paying out for unauthorized purchases on its own Appstore, and the FTC isn't taking it lying down.
Today, the de facto consumer protection agency in the US filed a federal lawsuit against Amazon under the wide-reaching FTC Act's section 45, which prohibits "unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce." Yes, that is a law.
Update: Well that didn't take long. Here's what T-Mobile had to say in response.
We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit. In fact T-Mobile stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want. T-Mobile is fighting harder than any of the carriers to change the way the wireless industry operates and we are disappointed that the FTC has chosen to file this action against the most pro-consumer company in the industry rather than the real bad actors.
Apple and Google have been fighting it out over patents ever since Android devices went on sale. Until today, that involved more than 20 ongoing lawsuits (in the US and Germany) between the two technology behemoths. In a joint statement earlier today, Apple and Google have announced all that is over. They will be ending the patent cases and will instead work to reform patent law.
This certainly sounds great, but it's probably not as significant as you're imagining.
Apple didn't have it all its own way: the jury also found that none of the Samsung phones presented violated two other Apple patents, and they awarded Samsung $158,400 after finding Apple guilty of unintentionally violating one of the Korean company's patents presented in a counter-suit.
Cut the Rope isn't Angry Birds, but in term's of popularity, it's come pretty close. The original game centered around getting a piece of candy into the mouth of the most adorable green, one-eyed something we've ever seen. The core gameplay in the latest sequel is, unsurprisingly, largely the same. Players will still spend their time feeding the appropriately named Om Nom by cutting the many ropes that some unspeakably evil being (game designer) has used to keep the poor creature hungry.
You can't run a tech company these days without infringing on someone's patents, and if you feel that you're infringee material, the Eastern District of Texas is the place to set up shop. SimpleAir, a Texas-based "inventor-owned technology licensing company," took Google to court over push messaging systems used in Android. Last month a jury found that Google infringed on all five of the asserted claims, leaving the company liable to pay up to $125 million for damages.