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Apple, Google and Amazon under investigation by Italy over in-app purchases

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By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

May 18, 2014 | 2 min read

Three of the world’s biggest technology companies are under investigation by Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority over speculation that the tech giants are misleading consumers via the use of in-app purchases.

Apple's 5th Avenue store, NYC

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Italian regulator said in a statement released on Friday that its investigation will decide whether the companies, which also include French game developer Gameloft, are using freemium models to mislead consumers into making purchases in apps that are initially free to download.

"Consumers could be led to think, contrary to reality, that a game is completely free and therefore they don't know ahead of time the game's true cost," the antitrust watchdog said.

"It appears also that there is a lack of information regarding how to exclude or limit the possibility of making a purchase inside the app."

The investigation comes after the European Union made a similar move earlier in the year urging companies to revise their use of the freemium model.

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