Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

France To Take Legal Action Against Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple

France To Take Legal Action Against Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple

The FFM has filed a complaint in a Paris court asking them to order Apple and Google to end "abusive commercial practices" following a three-year-long investigation by the government into how the major tech firms treat smaller French software developers that produce applications for mobile devices. "Google and Apple can unilaterally modify contracts with developers, which is unacceptable", Le Maire told the RTL broadcaster.

Among the contractual terms in question, the DGCCRF mentions in its statement the imposition of price brackets within which developers must fix the tariffs paid by end-users, the threat of unilateral termination of contract, and the ability to exploit data owned by developers with no reciprocity.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire commented on the case during a French radio show saying "No matter how powerful Google and Apple may be, they can not treat our start-ups and developers the way they do today".

Tech start-ups are a favourite of French President Emmanuel Macron, who has sought to overhaul the nation's laws and regulations to allow entrepreneurs to flourish.

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Both Apple and Google declined to comment immediately on Le Maire's claims.

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

On Wednesday, the French Government confirmed that it is drawing up plans to take the two American tech firms to court for allegedly violating European commercial and trade laws. These targeted companies and individuals making software for the App Store and Google Play.

That leads companies to declare their earnings in countries like Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, depriving other member states of revenues even though they may account for a bigger share of the earnings.

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He added that he hopes the European Union will close tax loopholes benefiting Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon by the start of 2019.

"It will be a considerable step", said Le Maire to Le Journal du Dimanche, according to a separate Reuters report.

But European officials have said they will not be intimidated by Trump's protectionist moves, which have yet to be put into effect.

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