France to sue Google, Apple over developer contracts- minister

Screenshot by Claudia Cruz  CNET

Screenshot by Claudia Cruz CNET

The French government said Wednesday that it would take legal action against Google and Apple over "abusive business practices", threatening fines that could further strain transatlantic ties as a trade war looms.

These allegedly-abusive business practices relate to the way that the tech giants impose tariffs on developers who sell their apps via the iTunes App Store and Google Play, respectively.

Le Maire also said he expected the European Union to close tax loopholes that benefit Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon by the start of 2019.

He added: "All that is unacceptable and it's not the economy that we want".

"As powerful as they are, Google and Apple should not be able to treat our startups and our developers the way they now do".

In February, the Politico news website reported, citing a draft European Commission report, that the European Union was planning to tax gross revenues of large tech companies at rates between 1 and 5 percent, based on the location of their users and how much advertising revenue they bring in.