France Targets Apple and Google for 'Abusive Commercial Practices'

France to sue Google, Apple over developer contracts: minister

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says the country will take Apple and Google to court over mobile developer contracts.

The French government is taking legal action against Apple and Google over "abusive commercial practices" related to app developers, Bloomberg reports.

Speaking on RTL radio, Le Maire said on Wednesday he had become aware that Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Apple Inc. unilaterally imposed prices and other contractual terms on software developers. This nearly goes without saying and extends to non-negotiable commission rates on app sales.

Once the operation was discovered, Le Maire took the ministry's fraud office into investigation and found out that there were some "significant imbalances" in the relationship between the two parties. In the U.S., "one-sided" contracts such as this have been legally upheld and routinely allowed in B2B and B2C contexts.

Le Parisien reported last December that the Finance Ministry is seeking to fine Amazon 10 million euros.

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Representatives for Apple and Google couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land.

"We are very happy and reassured that Bruno Le Maire has reacted", Nexedi's CEO Jean-Paul Smets told AFP.

France was already pursuing Apple, Google and other USA technology giants over the legal strategies that let them route their income from across the European Union through low-tax nations.

It is unclear if European nations will obtain waivers, with Trump having singled out the EU as treating the United States badly in trade ties and threatening to tax cars as well.

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