He added that France wants to close the loopholes that allow Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech giants to avoid taxes on the billions of dollars of revenues they collect in the country. "We want to be able to tax the giant tech companies in Europe starting in 2019," said Le Maire.
France sued Google in 2016, demanding $1.7 billion in back taxes, and declined to settle for a lesser amount like the UK did. However, a French court found in favor of Google, saying it obeyed European laws and wouldn't have to pay a dime (the government has vowed to appeal). France and Germany, the EU's largest economic forces, are also on a crusade to change European laws that allow companies to shelter earnings in nations with the lowest taxes, like Ireland.
France is also suing Apple over the fact that it slowed down iPhones to preserve batteries without informing consumers, calling it a form of programmed obsolescence. The nation has recently enacted laws outlawing gadgets that are designed with limited lifetimes that encourage waste and over-consumption. Penalties can include fines and even criminal charges.