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 using the opportunity to impose disproportionate price conditions on French developers.
Apple and its App Store in the eyes of the Ministry of Economy and Finance
In 2017, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, launched a case to bring Apple to court. It took five years for the commercial court in Paris to deliver its verdict. The court acknowledged that the tech giant imposed conditions that “ are not balanced for developers who use the App Store to offer their applications.
Initially, a complaint was lodged by the Ministry of Economy and Finance via the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) for abusive trading practices. Bercy believed that Apple was taking advantage of the App Store’s popularity to impose clauses on developers. In fact, publishers and application developers were obliged to comply with the prices offered by Apple, and the company did not hesitate to cut off 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 ” demonstrate that the firm condemned start-ups, SMEs and application developers to the Act of Non-Disclosure “. The court ultimately rejected the move.
Five counts retained on the pinned eleven
Of the eleven points laid down by the government, only five were upheld by the Commercial Court of Paris. Instance retained” significant imbalance “and” legal and financial uncertainty due to the rules that Apple has introduced in its App Store and the impossibility of contesting them. However, the court dismissed the complaint about the commission rate on App Store transactions, holding that it was not ” obviously excessive “. This 30% rate in particular upsets several publishers overseas like Epic Games.
If Bercy has succeeded in winning his case on certain objections, it is mainly thanks to the Digital Markets Act, which should enter into force in 2024. The judgment states that ” the entry into force of the legislation on digital markets (Digital Markets Act), which Europe has finally adopted on October 4, 2022, Apple is now imposing across Europe a rebalancing of clauses in favor of 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 worldwide, while creating a safe and reliable space for customers “.