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Google, Apple and Amazon are being investigated by Italian regulators over freemium apps. It's no secret that the freemium model for financing apps on mobile app stores have taken off in recent years. Simply doing a quick search on popular mobile platforms today will yield hundreds of results for freemium games and apps, initially free-of-charge to download, but sporting in-app purchases. The issue is whether or not consumers are being misled.

The investigation is being carried out by the Italy Antitrust and Competition Authority after the EU earlier this year called on companies to reform the use of 'freemium'. It's believed consumer confusion with the model threatens the long-term health of app stores and the economy in general. As well as Google and Apple, French game developer Gameloft is also being investigated on under similar concerns.

Said in-app purchases may include furthering the enjoyment of a fremium game, in the form of extra levels and other content. The maximum fine Italian authorities could place on parties involved is €5 million, which we're sure would be avoided if stores and developers alter the way these apps are marketed/sold.

Would you like to see some changes made to the freemium business model?

Source: Wall Street Journal