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Paris Commercial Court fines Apple over 'abusive' App Store policy

App Store

On Monday, the Paris Commercial Court issued a $1.06 million fine against Apple over abusive App Store commercial clauses affecting French app developers.

The ruling imposed a fine of just over one million euros ($1.06 million) on Apple. Reuters reports it also said there wasn't a need to force the company to change its clauses because the upcoming Digital Markets Act from the European Union would require changes anyway.

An Apple spokesman said the company would review the ruling and believed "in vibrant and competitive markets where innovation can flourish."

The decision is the culmination of a years-long investigation that the French government started in 2018. France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire claimed that when developers sell apps to Apple and Google, "their prices are imposed, Google and Apple take all their data, Google and Apple can unilaterally rewrite their contracts."

Between 2015-2017, Le Maire's investigation found "significant imbalances" in the relationship between developers who create the apps and the companies operating the app stores.

In August, French app developers also launched a class-action lawsuit against Apple over App Store fees. In association with Paris-based lawyer Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi representing the Le GESTE group, American law firm Hagens Berman filed an antitrust suit in California.

Hagens Berman had successfully forced Apple to change US App Store policies in 2021, allowing developers to directly contact customers via email or other means to discuss alternative payment methods. The company also created a $100 million Small Developer Assistance Fund to assist small developers in the US.

Depending on their size, companies that earned $1 million or less annually across all apps between June 4, 2015, and April 26, 2021, could claim between $250 to $30,000 from the fund.