France Suing Apple and Google for Taking Advantage of Developers With 'Abusive Commercial Practices'

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French finance minister Bruno Le Maire today announced that the country will be taking legal action against Apple and Google for "abusive commercial practices." Specifically, Le Maire said that the tech companies are taking advantage of French developers with these practices and that the fines from such a legal action could be in the "millions of euros" (via Bloomberg and Reuters).


Speaking on RTL radio, Le Maire said that he has recently become aware of practices performed by Apple and Google, where the companies "unilaterally" impose their prices and tweak other contractural terms with app developers to their liking. After discovering this, Le Maire led the ministry's fraud office into an investigation and found that between 2015 and 2017 there were "significant imbalances" in the relationships between Apple/Google and developers who sold apps on their stores.

“I learned that when developers develop their applications, and sell to Google and Apple, their prices are imposed, Google and Apple take all their data, Google and Apple can unilaterally rewrite their contracts,” Le Maire said on RTL radio. “All that is unacceptable and it’s not the economy that we want. They can’t treat our startups and developers the way they do.”

Le Maire went on to state that despite their power, Apple and Google "should not be able to treat" French startups and developers "the way they currently do." The legal action will take place in the Paris commercial court.

Le Maire also mentioned that he expects the European Union to officially close the tax loopholes benefiting Apple and other tech companies -- Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. -- by the start of 2019.

The loopholes are said to have allowed Apple to "minimize taxes and grab market share" at the expense of Europe-based companies. France's crackdown on these loopholes accelerated during a meeting of European Union officials last September, which now appears to be on track to end by early next year.

Tag: France

Top Rated Comments

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30 months ago

The real I ssue is not the pricing and fee structure! The issue is that Apple and Google can unilaterally breach the agreed-upon contracts thereby taking other developers’ code and then change the contracts to make the developers drop out of the App Store while Apple and Google keep the code. This allows Apple and Google to keep innovative code for themselves without directly buying the smal developer or licensing from them.

Where on Earth did you get this idea from? It's complete bull.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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30 months ago
In other news, France doesn’t know what the hell it’s talking about.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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30 months ago
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups." EU
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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30 months ago

Just imagine how much money, time and other resources would be needed to host, promote and distribute your app if you had to do it all. 30% is a fair take for all the work done in the background by Apple.

I honestly don’t think I could be bothered if I had to do it all. Developing and trying to promote apps is hard enough as it is. It eats up your life like nothing else you can imagine.

That’s why I’m more than happy to give Apple their cut. For the services they provide it’s a bit of a bargain.
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The issue is not the pricing and fee structure! The issue is that Apple and Google can take other developers code and then change the contracts to make the developers drop out of the App Store while Apple and Google keep the code. This allows Apple and Google to keep innovative code for themselves without directly buying the smal developer or licensing from them.

No they don’t. Copyright still stands even on the AppStore. Apple may “be inspired” by a developers product, but they can’t just half inch the code from your app. They either have to buy it, or develop it themselves. They don’t even get sent the complete source code from your app when you submit it. They could reverse engineer it but again, copyright prohibits this from taking place.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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30 months ago
I'd love to see examples of what Le Maire is talking about. From this post alone it sounds pretty nonsensical.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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30 months ago
They noticed it in 2015? Weren’t they paying attention between 2008 - 2015?
Or did the backhanders stop around 2015 :D

Apple’s pricing and fees haven’t changed drastically so since the AppStore launched. There’s been a tweak here and there but nothing I’m complaining about.

I know there’s going to be whinging and moaning nonetheless. But I don’t mind giving Apple a 30% cut and I don’t object to their pricing structure.

Not when they’re giving me access to over a billion iOS devices to peddle my wares on

Well, several hundred million when you rule out really old versions. But the vast majority of active iOS devices can still be targeted even with the latest developer tools.

That’s not to say I’d complain if they scrapped the fixed pricing tiers and allowed the freedom to set any price you like. But no biggie in my book.

I look at Apple’s 30% cut this way, having owned retail stores in the past, I know the kind of margins made on the products sold.
I assure you when we had our games shops our margins on software sales were a lot more than 30%.
As far as I’m concerned Apple is simply taking on the role of the old brick and mortar stores and in that respect, taking only 30% is reasonable to me.

Also, why hasn’t he bothered mentioning Amazon’s App Store? Their policies are not really any different from the rest. Or for that matter, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo who all have generally larger margins on non-sale items.

You can’t pick a fight with one or two companies and just ignore the rest because it suits you.


Maybe I’m just grumpy because I’ve not slept and had far too much medication. Or maybe I just like a dam good moan from time to time :p
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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