France Slaps Google with €2m Fine for Abusive Commercial Practices

The Paris Commercial Court fined the US tech giant Google two million euros on Monday for the significant imbalance the tech company created between itself and the application developers through clauses that were deemed unfair.

It took the French court four years of proceedings and numerous postponements to get the decision and side with the French executive which has filed the lawsuit against the US giant in 2018.

Both Google and Apple were sued in February 2018 by Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who asked for the cessation of their abusive commercial practices.

The companies were accused of imposing a price range on developers that include a 30% commission on each sale made on the Google Play Store. Developers were also left with limited ability to unilaterally modify or suspend the contract they signed.

The court found that Google has created a significant imbalance by imposing those clauses without effective negotiations, which also shows the company’s attempted submission of application developers to obligations.

Expression disappointment at the court’s decision, a Google spokesperson stressed that developers are given more choice and ability to reach an ever-growing audience on Android and Google Play than on any other platform.

He pointed out that the US giant always looks to provide developers with more support and to help them build sustainable businesses.

With regards to the court’s decision, Google says that most of the clauses disputed in the lawsuit are no longer in force in contracts with developers since the legal action was based on the French Directorate General of Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control’s (DGCCRF) investigation conducted in 2015 and 2016.

The company also isn’t closing the door to a possible appeal that might follow after Google’s legal department finish studying the decision in which the court gives them three months to modify the clauses.

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