France to Take Legal Action Against US Tech Giants


The finance minister will now file a lawsuit with the Paris Commercial Court for what he views as abusive trade practices.

Le Maire reportedly said that there were "significant imbalances" in contractual relationships between the two companies and their developer customers.

"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", said Le Maire.

Mr Le Maire said the action could result in fines of millions of euros for both firms.

The developer says Apple had required it to install certain software elements in its own apps in order to secure access to the App Store.

Credit French government
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire

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

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

Google said its terms comply with French laws and it intends to make that case in court, according to an e-mailed statement by a representative for the company in France. In France, "planned obsolescence" - the practice of a device maker purposefully shortening the life of the product to pressure users to upgrade to a newer model - is illegal and can carry heavy fines and jail terms for its executives.

But European officials have said they will not be intimidated by Trump's protectionist moves, which have yet to be put into effect. An Apple spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

Ireland's Finance Ministry added: "These sums will be placed into an escrow fund with the proceeds being released only when there has been a final determination in the European Courts over the validity of the Commission's Decision".

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