Why a French association (Le Figaro, L’Équipe, Deezer, etc.) files a complaint against Apple

Le GESTE, an association that brings together most of the major French publishers, seized American law. She will condemn Apple for its policy on the App Store.

In a press release published on 1eh August, the law firm Hagens Berman, located in the USA, announces that it will represent the French association Le GESTE in connection with a complaint against Apple. Why choose this company? Because Hagens Berman is known to have obtained from Apple the creation of a fund of 100 million dollars for small American developers, which we imagine is very attractive for this consortium of French publishers. Also represented by Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi, a French lawyer specializing in competition law, GESTE no doubt hopes to make Apple bow to the same reasons in a strong anti-monopoly context. The App Store has been the subject of numerous criticisms in recent years, and its model may be forced to evolve.

Who are members of GESTE?

The firm Hagens Berman, which is used to beating the giants (there was a lawsuit against Apple Books and another against Google Play), will, within the framework of a class action, represent Société du Figaro (the developer of Figaro’s applications), L’Équipe 24/24 (the developer of L’Équipe group applications) and the association Le GESTE, which brings together a large number of French publishers. The full list of members is available on its website. To save time, here are some of the most well-known names:

  • 20 minutes
  • The TF1 group
  • Altice
  • art
  • Bayard
  • Canal+
  • Deezer
  • France 24 / RFI
  • Google (its presence may seem more surprising, especially in the context of an attack against Apple, while Google has long had the same rules. Master Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi tells us that only members of GESTE who publish applications will really be concerned) .
  • IN A
  • Konbini
  • The team
Some of the members of GESTE. // Source: Numerama screenshot
  • yahoo
  • Le Figaro
  • Point
  • The Parisian / Les Echos
  • M6
  • Dorcel
  • Media party
  • orange
  • French Radio
  • Housing
  • TV5 world
  • The Express
  • AT Internet
Hagen's Berman
The company responsible for representing the French association. // Source: Hagens Berman

Small developers who want to join the complaint, in order to obtain compensation if Apple agrees to do the same as in the US, can do so. All they have to do is contact the lawyer Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi to become a member class action.

What the French blame Apple for

The complaint was filed in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, an avenue for the association’s lawyers to go directly to confront Apple on their turf.

Among the accusations against Apple, it is stated in particular that the brand has turned its App Store into a monopoly (there are no alternative stores), that its 30% commission is far too high (it has been replaced by 15% for small developers since , but they hope to obtain compensation), and that the payment of an annual subscription to publish apps in the App Store hurts small French developers. Other similar complaints are found around the world, while the App Store and Play Store are particularly scrutinized by the authorities. On the other hand, this is the first time that foreigners have come to file a complaint in the United States, which could set a dangerous precedent for Apple.

“If the French are admitted, it’s a change that could have a more global impact”

Master Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi, by Numerama

What the French are hoping for thanks to their lawsuit against Apple

Several requests will be made by the representatives of the Le GESTE association, such as the approval of the rollout of applications other than on the App Store or the addition of new price levels in Europe (there are 82 today according to Master Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi) .

Ideally, Le GESTE and its representatives hope to reach an agreement with Apple, as has been the case in the United States. In the event that Apple refuses to do so (probably to avoid attracting other countries to US courts), “We are ready to go to the end of the trial” explains Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi. “The goal is to achieve changes to the rules, such as a relaxation of certain restrictions” according to the lawyer, who puts the financial aspect in the background.

What are the chances of success?

First, the American judges must examine whether the case can be accepted as admissible. In 6 to 8 months we will know if French publishers can attack Apple in the US or if they have to settle for European authorities, such as the French competition authority (another case represented by Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi ). In the event that the file is deemed admissible, it should allow developers to obtain some form of compensation.

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