France to act against Google, Apple

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says the country will take Apple and Google to court over mobile developer contracts.

The government's latest moves dovetail with a lawsuit filed against Apple by a French business software start-up, Nexedi, 18 months ago - a case that will also be heard at the Paris Commercial Court from May 31.

Spokespeople for Apple France and Google France did not immediately respond to calls and messages from Reuters seeking comment.

According to le Maire, Apple and Google should not take advantage of French startups the way they are doing right now. the legal action is said to take place in the Paris commercial court.

He said the companies had forced unfair contractual terms and financial agreements onto French start-ups and developers. As Bloomberg reported, Le Maire spoke to RTL radio.

In January, the DGCCRF launched a probe against Apple over whether it deliberately phased out older iPhones to force customers to upgrade to a newer model.

Earlier this month, Le Maire told the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that the European Union was planning a new tax rate for tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon later this month after years of frustration that the companies were paying too little tax from European profits by rerouting the revenues into low-tax havens like Luxembourg and Ireland.

The action against Apple and Google comes after U.S. President Donald Trump fanned fears of a wider trade war, pledging to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imports of aluminum.

The European Commission, the 28-nation EU executive body, warned Wednesday that it would impose countermeasures on flagship United States products including peanut butter, orange juice and bourbon whiskey if Trump goes ahead with the metal tariffs.

Vanessa Coleman