French justice condemns Apple to pay a fine of one million euros

The Paris Commercial Court ordered Apple to pay a fine of one million euros following a complaint filed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Bercy had decided to attack the Cupertino company, considering that it was abusing its dominant position in the application market, with its App Store. Apple is accused of having taken the opportunity to impose disproportionate pricing conditions on French developers.

Apple and its App Store in the sights of the Ministry of Economy and Finance

In 2017, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, initiated proceedings to take Apple to court. It took five years for the Paris Commercial Court to render its verdict. The court acknowledged that the tech giant imposes conditions that “ are not balanced to developers who use the App Store to offer their applications.

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Initially, a complaint was filed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance via the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) for abusive commercial practices. Bercy considered that Apple took advantage of the notoriety of the App Store to impose clauses on developers. Indeed, publishers and application developers were obliged to comply with the prices offered by Apple and the company did not hesitate to interrupt access to its service in the event of a dispute. Along with this complaint, the ministry headed by Bruno Le Maire had also decided to attack Google for the same reasons.

In June 2021, during the trial, the France Digitale association joined the complaint. In a statement, Benoist Grossmann, co-president of France Digitale, said he wanted ” host that the firm condemned start-ups, SMEs and application developers to the law of silence “. The Court had failed the process.

Five counts retained on the eleven pinned

Of the eleven counts pinned by the government, only five were upheld by the Paris Commercial Court. The instance retained ” significant imbalance ” and ” legal and economic insecurity due to the rules put in place by Apple on its App Store and the impossibility of contesting them. However, the court dismissed the grief over the commission rate on transactions within the App Store, considering that it was not ” excessive manifestation “. This rate of 30% in particular cringes several publishers abroad like Epic Games.

If Bercy has succeeded in winning his case on certain grievances, it is in particular thanks to the Digital Markets Act which should come into force in 2024. In the judgment, it is stated that “ the entry into force of the Legislation on the Digital Markets, voted definitively by Europe on October 4, 2022, now imposes, everywhere in Europe, on Apple a rebalancing of the clauses in favor of the developers “.

According to information from 01netApple said it believes “ to dynamic and competitive markets where innovation can flourish “. The company says that through the App Store, it has helped ” French developers of all sizes to share their passion and creativity with users around the world, while providing a secure and trusted space for customers “.

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