Apple to court in September for “abusive business practices”

Apple to court in September for “abusive business practices”
Apple to court in September for “abusive business practices”

Paris (AFP)

A complaint from the State and the France Digitale association and targeting Apple for “abusive commercial practices” vis-à-vis French startups will be the subject of a hearing in September at the Paris Commercial Court, a we learned Thursday, confirming information from the daily Les Echos.

This case began in March 2018 with the announcement of a lawsuit by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) against the digital giants Apple and Google for ” abusive business practices “.

The complaint lodged by the DGCCRF on behalf of the Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire called for “the cessation of the practices” and a fine of “two million euros”.

“It has been almost three years since the ministry launched this investigation. (France Digitale’s new complaint is) a huge boost,” a source close to the matter told AFP.

The Commercial Court has set the hearing for September 17.

Contacted by AFP, the DGCCRF simply indicated “that a procedure is currently underway”.

In 2018, the Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire regretted that French startups are “charged tariffs” when they negotiate the sale of their applications to Google and Apple which “also retrieve the data. Both can unilaterally modify contracts “.

“Three months before the French presidency of the European Union, the result of this complaint will be historic,” Nicolas Brien, president of the European Startup Network, a network which brings together 24 national associations at European level, told AFP.

“Either Apple is condemned for having infringed the existing law, or Apple passes between the drops and we will have the proof that the existing law does not allow to regulate the systemic platforms. This will in any case be a major justification to strengthen the Digital Markets Act, ”he added.

The draft European regulation on digital markets (“Digital Markets Act”, DMA) aims to impose specific constraints only on so-called “systemic” players, a dozen companies whose omnipotence threatens the free play of competition. Among them, the five “Gafam” (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft).

“French startups are tied up by the App Store in completely unbalanced contractual conditions. It is time to break this straitjacket. We hope that the commercial court will force them to rewrite their general conditions of use and their general conditions of sale” , pleaded Mr. Brien.

The organization France Digitale, which brings together more than 2,000 startups, also lodged a complaint last March with the CNIL against Apple, accusing it of not asking for the consent of its users to display targeted advertising within its own applications, which the company denies.

© 2021 AFP

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