France vows legal action against Google and Apple for 'abusive practices'

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France vows legal action against Google and Apple for 'abusive practices'
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France will take legal action against Google and Apple for "abusive business practices", the country's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday.


"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, Le Maire said on RTL radio.

He added the action could result in penalties reaching several million euros.

Le Maire said start-ups face conditions imposed on them when selling their apps on Google and Apple which "also gather data" and "both can unilaterally modify contracts."

The minister said the situation is unacceptable.

"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.

The action against the firms comes as US President Donald Trump has moved towards imposing a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10-percent tariff on imports of aluminium.

It's not the first time France has become embroiled in legal disputes with the US internet giants.

Earlier this year Paris prosecutors launched a probe of US tech giant Apple over suspected slowing down of some iPhone models. Apple Execs could face a jail sentence if found guilty.

It came after a complaint by the association Stop Planned Obsolescence (HOP or Halte a l'Obsolescence Programmee) after Apple admitted last December that it intentionally slowed down older models of its iPhones over time.

And in July last year France announced it would appeal a court ruling that US internet giant Google is not liable for 1.12 billion euros ($1.27 billion) in taxes claimed by the state.

The court had ruled that France could not claim tax on revenues generated by Google in France that were transferred to its Irish subsidiary GIL.
Taxes are far lower in Ireland, a legal loophole prized by many multinationals in Europe.
But budget minister Gerald Darmanin vowed "We will appeal this ruling to safeguard the interests of the state."



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