Le GESTE, an association that brings together most of the great French publishers, has kidnapped the American justice system. He wants to condemn Apple for its App Store policy.
In a press release published on 1uh In August, US-based law firm Hagens Berman announced that it will represent the French association Le GESTI in a lawsuit against Apple. Why choose this company? Because Hagens Berman is known for having obtained from Apple the creation of a fund of 100 million dollars for small American developers, which we imagine very attractive for this consortium of French publishers. Also represented by Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi, a French lawyer specializing in competition law, GESTE undoubtedly hopes to bend Apple for the same reasons, in a strong anti-monopoly context. The App Store has been the subject of a lot of criticism in recent years and its model may be forced to evolve.
Who are the members of GESTE?
Used to beating the giants (there was a lawsuit against Apple Books and another against Google Play), the company Hagens Berman will represent, as part of a class action, the Société du Figaro (the developer of the applications of the Figaro) , L’Équipe 24/24 (the developer of the applications of the L’Équipe group) and the association Le GESTI, which brings together a large number of French publishers. The full list of its members is available on its website. To save you time, here are some of the more well-known names:
- 20 minutes
- The TF1 group
- Channel +
- 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 GESTI members who publish applications will be really interested.)
- IN A
- The group
- Le Figaro
- The Parisian / Les Echos
- French radio
- TV5 world
Small developers who wish to join the claim, in order to get compensation if Apple agrees to do the same thing as the US, can do so. All they have to do is contact attorney Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi to join the class action.
What the French blame Apple for
The complaint was filed with federal court in the Northern District of California, a way for the association’s attorneys to go directly to Apple on its land.
Among the reproaches addressed to Apple, it is particularly indicated that the brand has made its App Store a monopoly (there are no alternative stores), that its 30% commission is far too high (it has been replaced by 15% for small developers since, but they hope to get compensation) and that paying an annual subscription to publish apps on the App Store does harm to small French developers. Other similar complaints exist around the world, while the App Store and Play Store are particularly scrutinized by authorities. On the other hand, it is the first time that foreigners have come to file a complaint in the United States, which could set a dangerous precedent for Apple.
What the French are hoping for thanks to their lawsuit against Apple
Several requests will be presented by the representatives of the Le GESTE association, such as the authorization to distribute applications outside the App Store or the addition of new price levels in Europe (there are 82 today according to Maestro Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi) .
Ideally, Le GESTE and its representatives are hoping to get a deal with Apple, as they did in the United States. In case Apple refuses to do so (probably to avoid luring other countries into US courts), “We are ready to go to the end of the process” explains Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi. “The goal is to obtain changes to the rules, such as a relaxation of some restrictions” according to the lawyer, who overshadows the financial aspect.
What are the chances of success?
First, the American courts will have to examine the admissibility of the appeal. In 6 to 8 months we will know if French publishers will be able to attack Apple in the United States or if they will 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 found admissible, it should allow the developers to obtain some form of compensation.