France today said that it would take Apple and Google into the court over “abusive business practices” and seek fines of 2.5 million.
France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that the tech giants unilaterally imposed prices and contract changes on French app developers and gathered data on their use.
“I believe in an economy based on justice, and I will take Google and Apple before the Paris Commercial Court for abusive business practices,” Le Maire told RTL radio.
France’s anti-fraud department recently presented an inquiry report to the government, disclosing “a significant imbalance” in Google and Apple’s relations with the French startups.
“All that is unacceptable, and it’s not the economy that we want. I consider that Google and Apple, as powerful as they are, shouldn’t treat our start-ups and our developers in the way they do today,” he said.
“My responsibility is to ensure economic law and order,” he added. “There are rules. There is justice. It should be respected.”
France Says the tech giants unilaterally imposed prices and contract changes on French app developers and gathered data on their use.
The minister said the French government is also intending to close the loopholes that allow tech giants like Facebook, Google and Apple to avoid taxes on revenues they generated in the country.
“We want to be able to tax the giant tech companies in Europe starting in 2019,” he said.
Google’s spokeswoman, Mathilde Mechin, in response to Le Maire’s allegations said:
“We believe our terms comply with French laws and are looking forward to making our case in court.”
Apple, however, did not respond to requests for comment.
This isn’t the first time that France has been involved in a legal tussle with Google. In 2016, the French authorities had also sued the company in 2016, demanding $1.7 billion in back taxes on the revenue it collected from the country from 2005-2010. However, a French court, in its verdict of the case in June 2017, ruled that the company was not subject to corporate and value-added taxes during that period.
France is also planning to sue Apple for “deliberately” slowing down of older iPhones.
Under French laws, it is a crime to reduce the lifetime of a product with the intention of making customers replace it with the latest model. Penalties in such cases could include not only heavy fines and but also criminal charges.