How to do freemium right

If you regularly download apps for your smartphone or tablet, you have definitely experienced it: that moment when you find out the game you downloaded for free suddenly isn't. Welcome to the world of Freemium, where your initial download is only to get you interested, but where the real money is spent once you're already hooked on the game.

Freemium explained The word freemium is a portmanteau of the words free and premium, implying you're getting a premium experience without paying a premium price. For users, it seems like the best of all worlds to get an … Read more

Apple's in-app purchase settlement faces approval

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The settlement that will give some iTunes customers a refund for in-app purchases made by minors marched one step closer to approval today.

The two sides met in a federal courthouse here to hash out some final details before it's passed along to a judge for approval early next week.

As part of the proposed settlement, Apple will be required to pay out $5 in iTunes credit to those who say purchases were made on their device by a minor, and without them being aware of it. The company plans to send notices to more … Read more

App Store hacker says the 'game is over'

The creator of an exploit that let users purchase digital goods inside of iOS apps without actually paying for them said today that Apple's fix puts the hack out of business.

"Currently we have no way to bypass [the] updated APIs," creator Alexei Borodin wrote in a post on his development blog. "It's a good news for everyone, we have updated security in iOS, developers have their air-money."

Borodin says that the exploit, which requires the use of third-party servers and specially-installed security certificates, will continue to be up and running until Apple releases … Read more

Apple to close in-app purchase hack in iOS 6, offers interim fix

Apple has outlined a way for iOS developers to protect themselves against an exploit that lets users gain free access to paid add-on content sold within their apps.

In a new support document posted today, the company provided detailed guidelines, urging developers to use its receipt validation system that cross-checks purchases made inside applications with the company's own records. It also said that it will be taking extra precautions to keep this from happening in the next version of iOS, due out later this year.

"We recommend developers follow best practices at developer.apple.com to help ensure … Read more

Apple 'investigating' in-app purchase freebie exploit

Apple says it's investigating an exploit that currently allows users to purchase digital goods inside of iOS apps without actually paying for them.

"The security of the App Store is incredibly important to us, and the developer community," Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison told CNET in a prepared statement. "We take reports of fraudulent activity very seriously and we are investigating."

The company did not provide any estimate of when action would be taken. Russian technology blog i-ekb.ru, which first reported on the exploit earlier today, noted that the hosting company that currently serves the … Read more

Apple tries to intervene in Lodsys lawsuit

Apple is seeking to put its legal weight behind developers targeted by Lodsys, a company that's taken aim at app makers on both Apple's iOS and Google's Android for infringing on patents it owns.

The iPhone maker yesterday filed a motion with the Eastern District of Texas to intervene as the defendant in a lawsuit from Lodsys that targets seven developers. Apple also used the filing to provide a counterclaim that both it and its developers have the license rights to use the technology. That filing was dug up by FOSS Patents.

"Apple has an interest … Read more

Apple throws weight behind devs on patent issue

Apple has sent notice to Lodsys, as well as developers targeted by the patent holdings firm, saying it has licensed the rights to in-app purchase, and that that license extends to developers on the iOS platform.

Developers MobileAge, the makers of the game Shanghai lite, received a letter from Apple's senior vice president and general counsel, Bruce Sewell, this morning telling them that the company has already licensed the four patents in Lodsys' portfolio, and that said license allows Apple's customers and business partners similar coverage to use it.

"Apple is undisputedly licensed to these (patents) and … Read more

Report: Apple looking into Lodsys patent claim

Apple is said to be "actively investigating" the patent claims made by holdings firm Lodsys, which last week began sending a handful of developers notices that their apps were infringing on a patent the group held, The Guardian reports.

Just yesterday Lodsys posted a series of frequently asked questions, along with corresponding answers to its blog, wherein it detailed how its patent pertains to the in-app purchase feature of iOS, and the developers who use it. The group seeks an ongoing, revenue-based licensing fee, as well as back payment on apps that make use of the feature.

So … Read more

iOS app makers targeted in patent spat

The makers of several iOS applications have received cease and desist letters over the use of in-app purchasing, from parties who claim the feature infringes on an existing patent.

Computer LogicX, which makes Mix and Mash and Mix and Mash LITE, as well as developer James Thomson, who makes PCalc and DragThing, have received letters threatening legal action if the feature is not removed.

In Computer LogicX's case, the U.S. patent is No.7,222,078, which Macrumors discovered is owned by holding firm Lodsys. That patent, titled "methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network," was acquired by the firm in 2004, and deals with the set up and completion of a transaction.

A snippet from the patent attempts to sum up what the invention is about:

"Simply put, this invention helps vendors and customers by transforming their learning cycle: It compresses the time and steps between setting business objectives, creating effective products and services, and improving them continuously. It also alters their roles: Customers become partners in the improvement process along with vendors and distributors."

Rob Gloess of Computer LogicX weighed in on the matter in an e-mail to Macrumors, saying the patent holder was taking aim specifically at an upgrade mechanism that involves… Read more