France Accuses Apple of Abusive Contracts, Will Sue Company


French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire took issue with the strict controls Apple imposes on things like pricing, data use and the terms of contracts. "That's unacceptable. It's not the economy we want".

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire commented on the case during a French radio show saying "No matter how powerful Google and Apple may be, they can not treat our start-ups and developers the way they do today". A complaint filed by the finance ministry asked a Paris court to order the companies to end "abusive commercial practices".

France is to take legal action against Apple and Google over what it claims are "abusive business practices" that exploit developers and startups. Spokespeople for Apple France and Google France did not immediately respond to calls and messages from Reuters seeking comment.

In the case unveiled by Le Maire Wednesday, the anti-fraud office determined that between 2015 and 2017 there were "significant imbalances" in the relationship between Google and Apple and developers who sold via their application stores.

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

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

Google, Amazon and Facebook have consistently praised France for its talent pool of engineers and researchers over the past years.