France to Sue Google, Apple Over 'Abusive Trade Practices' - Economy Minister


"All that is unacceptable and it's not the economy that we want".

Le Maire reportedly said that there were "significant imbalances" in contractual relationships between the two companies and their developer customers.

"I will have Google and Apple taken to the Commercial Court of Paris for abusive trade practices, because I believe that Google and Apple, no matter how powerful they are, can not treat our start-ups and our developers the way they are doing today".

"I will therefore be taking Google and Apple to the Paris commercial court for abusive trade practices", Le Maire said.

Mistreatment of startups, developers, overwhelmingly dominant positions, and abusive commercial practices cited as reasons for probe. If the court agrees with the government and regulator, Apple and Google could be forced to pay up to $2.5 million in fines.

The findings of a similar probe into Inc. previous year are being reviewed by a tribunal, Le Maire's office said.

Apple has yet to comment on the situation, but Google spokeswoman Mathilde Mechin said: "We believe our terms comply with French laws and are looking forward to making our case in court".

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

Le Maire reiterated that his government was working to establish worldwide rules obliging digital giants to pay taxes wherever they operate.

Earlier this month, Le Maire told the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that the European Union was planning a new tax rate for tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon later this month after years of frustration that the companies were paying too little tax from European profits by rerouting the revenues into low-tax havens like Luxembourg and Ireland.