French Trade Minister Christine Lagarde has hit back at Apple -- and critics of France -- in defending the country's proposed law on digital audio interoperability. In comments to reporters while visiting San Francisco, Lagarde declared that when "a company restricts competition ... it gets the attention of regulating agencies. We have to play by the rules of the game." Of course, it can be argued that Apple hasn't restricted competition, given the fact that there are a number of other companies operating online music stores and making digital audio players -- and that France is attempting to change the rules mid-game. Lagarde also had a message for those who have criticized French policies on the Apple issue and other recent developments: "I don't want the crap," she said. "It annoys me when France is portrayed as an awkward, backward country. It is not." Touché.

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French minister's response to Apple: "I don't want the crap."