Apple fined 1 million euros by Paris court over App Store practices

The Apple Inc logo is seen at the entrance to the Apple store in Brussels, Belgium November 28, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Paris Commercial Court on Monday fined iPhone maker Apple (AAPL.O) just over 1 million euros ($1.06 million) for imposing abusive commercial clauses on French app developers for access to the company's App Store, the court ruling showed.

The ruling, seen by Reuters, said there was no need to order Apple, which has a market value of about $2.1 trillion, to tweak the App Store's clauses because the European Union's incoming Digital Markets Act would require changes in any case.

While tiny in size compared to the huge profits generated by Apple, the Paris court's fine is another sign of the legal pressures Apple faces to loosen its grip over the App Store, so far the only gateway for alternative app developers to access customers.

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

"Through the App Store, we’ve helped French developers of all sizes share their passion and creativity with users around the world while creating a secure and trusted place for customers," the spokesman added.

Apple faces heightened antitrust scrutiny over its contractual practices following the adoption of new EU legislation that targets so-called digital "gatekeepers" online -- tech firms whose platforms and softwares have become unavoidable for smaller digital companies.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) in particular will force Apple and fellow tech giant Google to provide space for third-party app stores on their respective iOS and Android devices.

The DMA came into force on Nov. 1 and there is now a six-month implementation stage before it starts to apply for the most part from May 2, 2023.

($1 = 0.9413 euros)

Reporting by Layli Foroudi and Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Jane Merriman, Richard Lough and Susan Fenton

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