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

Google and Apple are among the web giants known as GAFA.                  AFP

The French economy ministry is seeking to fine Amazon 10 million euros ($12.4 billion), according to media reports. "I consider that Google and Apple, as powerful as they are, shouldn't treat our start-ups and our developers in the way they do today", said Le Maire.

The move is seen as protecting French software developers against "abusive trade practices".

"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", Bruno Le Maire told French RTL radio. 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.

"We are ready to explain our position before the courts", it said.

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France is to take legal action against Apple and Google over what it claims are "abusive business practices" that exploit developers and startups. French authorities have denied that the sudden crackdown on tech firms has any relation to the Unite States' new tariffs and taxes, however, France has recently begun speaking out against tech firms with a finance ministry official recently stating that Europe "needs to stand up and defend its own interests". Earlier this year, French regulators launched an investigation into the firm's "deliberate" slowing down of older iPhones.

France has had a complicated relationship with internet giants, on the one hand courting them to set up operations in the country and on the other hand leading efforts at the European Union level to force them to pay more taxes in the countries where they operate, rather than in low-tax countries such as the Republic and Luxembourg where they've based their European subsidiaries.

The European Commission, the 28-nation EU executive body, warned Wednesday that it would impose countermeasures on flagship U.S. products including peanut butter, orange juice and bourbon whiskey if Trump goes ahead with the metal tariffs.

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