France To Sue Google and Apple over Business Practices

The French government will soon file lawsuits against American technology giants Google and Apple over their business practices, which some people see as part of a simmering trade war between the two transatlantic allies.

Bruno Le Maire, who is France's finance minister, called the companies' business practices "abusive," and he said that they hurt French startup companies. He made the comment during an interview with RTL radio last Wednesday. He went on to say that the issue related specifically to mobile apps small French companies sell at the stores operated by Google and Apple. He accused the two large tech companies of imposing onerous conditions on French startups. He also accused them of improperly gathering data from French businesses, and initiating contracts that could be unilaterally altered by the two.

Le Maire called this behavior "unacceptable," and he indicated that the government will bring suit against the two companies at the Paris Commercial Court.

The news comes on the heels of trade actions threatened by U.S. President Donald Trump, who wants to impose a 25% tariff against imported steel. The president would also like to impose a 10% tariff on imported aluminium. While making these threats, Trump named the EU as an entity that particularly has unfair trade policies with the United States. He also threatened to tax cars produced in the EU as well.

At the moment, the EU has not indicated whether they will seek waivers against such actions if they are actually initiated.

This is not the first time that Le Maire has targeted Google and Apple. In the past, he has threatened the two companies over tax payments, while complaining that they were using loopholes in the tax laws to avoid paying proper levels of tax. He has said that penalties in these cases could reach many millions of euros.

Emmanuel Macron, who is the French president, has made a special effort to help French startup companies. To this end, he has been trying to change the nation's laws and regulations in order for them to better succeed.

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