France to take legal action against Google, Apple

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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.

Apple and Google are not saying anything about the court moves. An investigation by the ministry's fraud office determined that there "significant imbalances" in the relationship between the companies and developers between 2015 and 2017.

The minister said that sanctions might be applied that would be measured 'in millions of Euros'.

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

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.

Le Maire added he finds unacceptable that both companies can also gather data from the developers and "unilaterally modify contracts". Le Maire has always been a critic of tech firms, calling for the taxation of tech companies revenue rather than their profit and has argued that these tech firms use loopholes and safe havens to pay very little tax in countries that they're based in.

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

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

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