On September 17, a French court will be hearing a case brought by the finance ministry against Apple, according to a report by Reuters. Similar to what happened with the Epic Games vs. Apple case, the French finance ministry alleges abusive contractual terms imposed by Apple for selling software on the 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.“
According to the report, “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.”
Reuters says, unlike other countries, the law in France allows the finance minister to sue companies if “the abusive business practices are found in contracts.”
Last week, the UK’s competition watchdog announced an official investigation into the mobile device ecosystem, citing Apple and Google’s effective duopoly:
“Apple and Google control the major gateways through which people download apps or browse the web on their mobiles – whether they want to shop, play games, stream music or watch TV. We’re looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through their phones.“
The U.S. Congress is also eager to vote on a new antitrust package that wants zero Apple pre-installed apps on the iPhone. Yesterday, it was reported that Tim Cook himself called Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress to voice concern about looming antitrust legislations. The NYT report said about the conversation:
“The antitrust bills were rushed, he said. They would crimp innovation. And they would hurt consumers by disrupting the services that power Apple’s lucrative iPhone, Mr. Cook cautioned at various points, according to five people with knowledge of the conversations.“
This morning, a letter sent by Apple to the House Judiciary Committee listed five pieces of proposed antitrust legislation that would “undermine consumers’ ability to choose products that offer state-of-the-art Privacy and Security.”
As more countries and politicians want to break up the big tech companies, we will probably hear a lot more about Apple being sued over App Store monopoly allegations.