Google is being sanctioned by the commercial court for abusive commercial practices towards developers. The American group has three months to amend seven clauses in its distribution contract.
A case dating back to 2018
Back in February 2018, the Minister for the Economy took Google and Apple to court to demand the « cessation of their abusive commercial practices and the imposition of a €2 million fine » (Maxence Fabrion, Les Numériques).
The two firms were criticized by the government for imposing a price range on developers, including a 30% commission on each sale made on the Google Play Store, and for their ability to unilaterally modify or suspend the contract with developers.
These clauses were supposedly imposed by Google without effective negotiation and reflected the submission or attempted submission of application developers to obligations creating a significant imbalance the court ruled
“We deplore the decision of the Paris Commercial Court and acknowledge it. Android and Google Play offer developers more choice than any other platform, and the opportunity to reach an ever-widening audience” Google commented in a statement to Le Figaro. The group did not rule out an appeal.
The company stresses that most of the offending clauses are no longer in force in contracts with developers as the French government’s case relied on an investigation by the French General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) that was undertaken in 2015 and 2016.
In addition, Google announced in June that it would lower the levy on sales made on applications within its shop to 15%.
In any case, the court lists a total of seven abusive clauses and asks Google to remove them from its contracts within three months, with a penalty of 10,000 euros per day of delay.
Fabrion, Maxence. “Google Condamné à 2 Millions D’euros D’amende En France Pour Pratiques Commerciales Abusives.” Les Numériques, 30 Mar. 2022, https://www.lesnumeriques.com/pro/google-condamne-a-2-millions-d-euros-d-amende-en-france-pour-pratiques-commerciales-abusives-n179409.html.
FigaroTech. “France : Google Condamné à Une Amende De 2 Millions D’euros Pour Son Magasin D’applications.” LEFIGARO, 29 Mar. 2022, https://www.lefigaro.fr/secteur/high-tech/france-google-condamne-a-une-amende-de-2-millions-d-euros-pour-son-magasin-d-applications-20220329.