March 23, 2018

France to sue tech giants for 'abusive practices'

14 March 2018, 11:20 | Marlene Myers

France to Sue Google, Apple Over 'Abusive Trade Practices' - Economy Minister

French minister Bruno Le Maire says start-ups face conditions imposed on them when selling their apps on Google and Apple which “also gather data” and “both can unilaterally modify contracts

Le Maire added he finds unacceptable that both companies can also gather data from the developers and "unilaterally modify contracts".

Paris: France said on Wednesday it will take Google and Apple to court and seek fines of 2 million euros ($2.5 million) over what it termed "abusive" contractual terms imposed by the tech giants on startups and developers.

In response to the French minister, Google said in a statement: "With more than 1000 downloads per second, Google Play is a great way for European app developers large and small, including many in France, to distribute their apps to people all around the world". "They can't treat our startups and developers the way they do". This comes after a two-year investigation by the ministry's fraud repression unit, according to an official in Le Maire's office.

Le Maire said the fines could be in the "millions of euros".

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French authorities said that the latest case brought against Apple and Google is created to address "significant imbalances" in how French software developers are treated.

A representative for Apple didn't respond to a request for comment. Le Maire has always been a critic of tech firms, calling for the taxation of tech companies revenue rather than their profit and has argued that these tech firms use loopholes and safe havens to pay very little tax in countries that they're based in.

Le Maire speaking on RTL radio stated that the practices performed by Apple and Google have been recently noticed by him.

The findings of a similar probe into Inc. previous year are being reviewed by a tribunal, Le Maire's office said.

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