French court sets date in Apple case over App Store developer contracts

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A French court has set on the 17th of September as the date for hearing a case brought by the finance ministry against Apple over allegedly abusive contractual terms imposed by the tech giant for selling software on its App Store.

The case, judged by Paris’ commercial court, is unlikely to lead to a significant fine if Apple is found guilty, based on previous similar cases. But the court could compel the iPhone maker to change some of its App Store contractual terms.

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment.

The case echoes a complaint by “Fortnite” creator Epic Games, which is engaged in multiple lawsuits across the world against Apple since a dispute over app payment commissions surfaced last year.

The ministry’s lawsuit comes after a three-year probe by the DGCCRF consumer fraud watchdog, which comes under the remit of Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who ordered the investigation.

In France, the law allows the finance minister to sue companies when abusive business practices are found in contracts.

France’s leading start-up lobby France Digitale has joined the case, according to a court document seen by journalists at our partner news agency Reuters.

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“We’re going to find ourselves in a ‘heads you lose, tails I win’ situation,” said Nicolas Brien, the head of the European start-up network and CEO of France Digitale.

“Either the commercial court condemns Apple, and it will be unprecedented … or Apple gets away with it, and it will be proof that current laws don’t allow the regulation of a systemic platform like Apple.”

Further hearings could follow and no date has been yet set for the court’s decision.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain. Editing by Mark Potter.

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