France takes Apple and Google to court over unfair contracts with app developers

Wednesday 14 March 2018 | 16:10 CET | News

Apple and Google face legal action at the Paris commercial court that could result in a fine of EUR 2 million for unfair commercial practices. The case was brought on behalf of the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, by the French Directorate for fair trading, consumer affairs and fraud control (DGCCRF). It centres on the contractual terms imposed by the two companies on content and app developers selling software on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Several clauses have been found by the ministry to be in breach on French law, by creating a significant imbalance at the expense of developers, causing harm to them but also to the economy as a whole.

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.

A similar legal case was brought to court in December 2017 against Amazon, accused of abusing its dominant position with e-commerce suppliers by the DGCCRF.

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