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Apple denies French government's 'abusive commercial practices' accusation

Apple has responded to accusations by the French government that it is taking advantage of the country's developers, dismissing claims of 'abusive commercial practices' by highlighting the funds paid to the nation's iOS app developers and the support it provides to both application producers and their users.

Apple's Opera store in Paris, France

Apple's Opera store in Paris, France


"We are proud to have strong relationships with tens of thousands of developers across France," a translated statement from Apple provided to Le Figaro reads, in Apple's defense against comments made on Wednesday by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

French developers have earned "1 billion euros ($1.23 billion) on the App Store," Apple highlights, continuing "Many of these talented developers started their businesses with one or two people and then saw their teams grow to offer their apps to users in 155 countries. This was only possible thanks to Apple's investment in iOS, development tools, and the App Store."

"We are fully prepared to share our story in the French courts and to clarify this misunderstanding." The statement ends noting "In the meantime, we will continue to help French developers realize their dreams and support French students in their code learning through our coding program."

Minister Le Maire accused Apple and Google of imposing prices on apps placed on the App Store, that the firms "take all their data," and can "unilaterally rewrite" their contracts. Calling it unacceptable and "not the economy" the country wants, Le Maire insisted "They can't treat our startups and developers the way they do."

Seemingly in answering the "take all their data" complaint, Apple states it "has always defended the privacy and security of users and does not have access to user transactions with third-party applications."

Le Maire made the comments as part of a radio interview about the French government's intention to take Apple and Google to court over so-called "abusive commercial practices." Based on an investigation between 2015 and 2017, the ministry's fraud office found there were "significant imbalances" in the relationship between the app marketplace-owning companies and the developers.

Google's response to Le Maire more directly addressed the commercial practices aspect of the minister's comments, noting the search giant has collaborated with government agencies on many topics, including Google Play. "We consider that our conditions are in accordance with French law and we are ready to explain our position before the courts," the statement claims.