Apple fined one million euros in France over apps

A French court on Monday ordered Apple to pay one million euros ($1.06 million) for imposing unfair conditions on app developers and to bring its practices in line with new EU regulations.

The ruling stems from a case launched in 2017 by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who accused the US tech giant of imposing prices on French startups who want to sell their apps on the company’s platform.

The complaint also said that Apple took data from developers and could unilaterally modify contracts.

According to the ruling, seen by AFP, the Paris commercial court considered there was a “significant disequilibrium” and “considerable legal and economic insecurity” due to the impossibility of developers to renegotiate the terms of their contract or contest a suspension of their app.

However, the court rejected five of 11 complaints, including on the requirement to exclusively use Apple’s payment system or the 30 percent commission, which the judge said was not excessive and was common in both in physical and online commerce.

The court did not order modifications in certain contested clauses, but did point Apple to the EU’s news digital market regulations which will force the company to modify its contracts throughout Europe to the benefit of app developers.

Apple told AFP that it would examine the ruling in detail and would continue to support developers while offering a safe platform for consumers.

“Apple believes in dynamic and competitive markets where innovation can blossom,” the company said.

Google, which was targeted by a similar complaint, was ordered in March to pay a penalty of two million euros and modify seven contractual clauses.

Under pressure to justify the commissions they impose on developers worldwide, the two US tech titans cut them in half for small developers and introduced more flexibility in setting app prices.

The new EU regulations could also force Apple to allow the use of alternatives to its App Store to buy apps, as well as alternative payment systems.

 

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