France to take legal action against Google and Apple for 'abusive' practices

France to take legal action against Google and Apple for 'abusive' practices

"All that is unacceptable and it's not the economy that we want", Le Maire said.

The French finance minister has announced plans to sue Google and Apple for "abusive trade practices".

"As powerful as they are, Google and Apple should not be able to treat our startups and our developers the way they now do".

"I believe in an economy based on justice and I will take Google and Apple before the Paris Commercial Court for abusive business practices" against French start-ups, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL radio. Fines are likely to be about 2 million euros ($2.5 million) per company, accused of taking advantage of local developers.

Apple and Google are not saying anything about the court moves. An Apple spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

France's Digital Minister Mounir Mahjoubi has often criticised the "golden prisons" for internet users, whose access to content is controlled by United States technology giants.


According to Le Maire's office, a probe by the ministry's fraud office determined that between 2015 and 2017 there were "significant imbalances" in the relationship between the two companies and developers who sold via their application stores.

A court is looking into the findings of a similar probe launched a year ago into Amazon.com Inc.

Le Maire added that, if found guilty, Apple and Google could face fines in the "millions of euros".

Le Maire reiterated that his government was working to establish worldwide rules obliging digital giants to pay taxes wherever they operate.

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

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