The French government is mulling over the possibility of creating new taxes on devices made by technology conglomerates such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the hope that the revenue afforded by these new taxes could support digital cultural content inside France during its economic downturn.
Though President Francois Hollande won’t make his final decision until late July, the introduction of the proposal already puts France at risk of tension with the technology giants at a time when the government has already been accused of fostering an anti-business image, Reuters reports. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg’s move to block an attempt by Yahoo! to buy a majority stake in French video clip site Dailymotion not only re-sparked the state intervention debate, but also revealed some of the French government’s inner discord after the Finance Minister denied ever having approved the move.
The Associated Press explains that the proposal “… handed to President Francois Hollande Monday, outlines a 1 percent tax on the sale of Internet-compatible devices, targeting companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon.” The money yielded from this tax, mostly aimed at Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and Google’s Android products, would go to cultural industries aiming to develop French content.
This proposal, part of France’s “cultural exception policy” that keeps certain French projects shielded from market forces, is also in line with the country’s aim to fund French culture even during an economic downturn. Though France has stirred criticism from big companies like Google for pushing policies that require costs not necessitated elsewhere, the country stands resilient in its ways.The leading figures of France’s cultural sector will meet with the French government before any decisions are made later this summer.
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