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France to serve major jolt to Apple, Google with 2 million euro penalty demand; here’s why

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New Delhi | Updated: March 15, 2018 2:49:32 PM

While France is planning to impose the fines on Google and Apple, there are other countries within the European Union and outside it that have challenged these tech colossuses in the past

Apple and Google have been accused of imposing unilateral contractual charges on developers and startups. (Source: Reuters)

France on Wednesday said it will sue tech giants Apple and Alphabet’s Google seeking fines of around 2 million euros (approximately Rs 16 crore) over the ‘abusive’ terms that were embodied in contracts with local startups and developers. Apple and Google have been accused of imposing unilateral contractual charges on developers and startups that sell their apps and software on their respective app marketplaces. Now, what does it mean for Apple, Google, and other tech giants that have developers and startups enrolled in almost every country?

While France is planning to impose the fines on Google and Apple, there are other countries within the European Union and outside it that have challenged these tech colossuses in the past over their alleged dominance in the tech scene of the respective countries. Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store host apps and games that are developed by thousands of developers and other small startups. Google and Apple charge the developers fees for selling their apps on their platforms. However, France believes that the charges taken by Apple and Google are hefty and contribute to ‘abusive’ trade practices.

A Reuters report said that France’s DGCCRF consumer fraud watchdog has begun taking a legal action against the technology firms headquartered in the US. “I will, therefore, be taking Google and Apple to the Paris commercial court for abusive trade practices,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted as saying in the report in a conversation with RTL radio. “As powerful as they are, Google and Apple should not be able to treat our startups and our developers the way they currently do,” he added.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters that the charges levied to the developers comply with the French laws and the company would adjoin all these points to fight its case in the court. Apple was, however, was unavailable to respond to the issue.

In India, major blows have been served to big tech companies including Facebook when a top court barred WhatsApp from sharing users’ personal data with the parent company. WhatsApp conspicuously stated that Facebook will have all the data that is collected by WhatsApp from the user chats. Other countries too began taking note of the privacy as a rising concern among their citizens. The UK ruled out the data sharing policy of WhatsApp on Wednesday that prohibits it from sharing user data with parent company Facebook.

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