Google must amend app store contracts in French lawsuit defeat: Report

The Paris Commercial Court found Google did not provide developers with the opportunity to effectively negotiate their terms for being on the Play Store.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

Google has reportedly been fined €2 million by the Paris Commercial Court for acting abusively to developers with apps on the Play store.

The court found Google imposed various contractual obligations, including a 30% commission fee, against developers without providing them with the opportunity to negotiate in good faith, according to a Bloomberg report.

The decision comes after four years of litigation from France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who raised lawsuits against Apple and Google as he found the tech giants were not playing fair with French developers and startups.

Along with the €2 million fine, the Parisian court has reportedly ordered Google to amend seven clauses from contracts dated back to 2015 and 2016, including clauses that required developers to provide a 30% commissioner on revenues generated on apps downloaded from the Play Store.

Since the lawsuits first arose, both Apple and Google cut their commission fees in half to 15% amid concerns regarding their app store payment practices. 

Despite these changes, Apple and Google continue to face growing scrutiny across the globe for their app store payment systems, with regulators arguing that the systems of both companies have hampered competition in the app store and mobile OS space.

Earlier this week, Apple was given its 10th weekly €5 million fine by the Netherland's competition watchdog for repeatedly failing to update its anti-competitive app store policies against dating apps, bringing the fine total to €50 million.

The accumulative penalty order issued by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has a cap of €50 million, so the watchdog will now consider whether to issue another larger periodic fine depending on whether Apple's most recent proposal to fix anticompetitive imbalances, which was submitted on March 27, is insufficient.

According to the ACM, if the new proposal leads to "definitive conditions" for dating apps, the watchdog will pass those conditions onto developers for review. If developers are happy with the revised conditions, the ACM will then give Apple its final decision on whether or not the company is in compliance with competition regulation.

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