French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says the country will take Apple and Google to court over mobile developer contracts. The move is seen as protecting French software developers against “abusive trade practices.”
Le Maire reportedly said that there were “significant imbalances” in contractual relationships between the two companies and their developer customers. This almost goes without saying and extends to non-negotiable commission rates on app sales.
The decision comes after a two-year investigation by the Finance Ministry that found contract terms were non-negotiable and effectively imposed on developers (which seems naive and obvious). In the US, “one-sided” contracts such as this have been legally upheld and routinely allowed in B2B and B2C contexts.
Le Maire added in a statement to Bloomberg that fines could be in the millions of euros. The country might also seek the elimination of these unilateral contract terms and standardized commissions, which could create significant headaches for both Google and Apple.