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France may tax non-Windows tablets, spark Archos lawsuit

updated 05:10 pm EST, Tue December 28, 2010

France could tax iPad but draw Archos lawsuit

France may soon approve extending a levy that could charge extra for the iPad and most other high-end tablets, a local trade publication warned late on Monday. The country would expand an anti-piracy levy already covering smaller devices to charge as much as 12 euros ($16) extra for any tablet running a non-desktop OS and with more than 40GB of storage. Only Windows tablets would be completely exempted, although the Galaxy Tab's 32GB cap would keep it exempt in its current form as well.

A vote confirming the levy extension is due January 12.

If passed, the measure would likely trigger a near-immediate lawsuit from Archos. The tablet maker depends on its home country for much of its business and could stand to lose 20 times more money to French levies than it does today. Payments reached a relatively mild three million euros ($3.93 million) in 2009 but would surge to 58 million euros ($76.05 million) in 2011.

Archos CEO Henri Crohas argued that the levy extension would not only cripple a domestic electronics designer but showed a fundamental lack of understanding of how tablets work. One of the company's Android-based tablets was more of a mini-computer than other tablets, the executive said. As an example, he noted that many peripherals that would work on a regular computer would work on the tablet, and users could change the OS on Archos' devices where the iPad and other tablets were officially locked to one platform.

He added that the claims of compensating piracy were somewhat hypocritical and that a Windows tablet, with a full file system and pirate-friendly apps, was more likely to be used for the task. Mobile platforms like Android and iOS often have less flexibility in their apps and file management. "How could we seriously say that a tablet with Windows is less responsible for private copying than Android?" Crohas asked.

Although not mentioned, anti-competitiveness may play a role as it would unfairly favor Windows 7 tablets at the high-end while forcing most companies to stay below 40GB to qualify or else charge a higher price.

Any legal action should be supported by France's consumer electronics manufacturing union, Simavelec. It has already had a number of victories over existing levies, although some of these are symbolic more than real. [via TechDirt]

By Electronista Staff


  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Oct 2001


    Go France!

    Straight to h***, you b*******.

  1. BlueGonzo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2010



    That's why I can't understand the french people. I never heard of such stupid regulations in other western countries. Bozos.

  1. cal6n

    Junior Member

    Joined: Nov 2003


    That makes perfect sense...

    ... because no one has ever used a computer running a full desktop operating system for piracy, have they?

    Oh, wait...

    Comment buried. Show
  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    This can only

    be something a low class piece of sh*t French f@g can come with.

    Go back to the kitchen you frog... earn your money the hard way. Bunch of socialist scum!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. danangdoc

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Boycott on French goods overdue

    Clear they are morons and low-lifes in France. Not that I drink a lot of French wine, but clearly we need to boycott French goods.

    Air France (don't fly this airline!)
    Allegra (get a different medication)
    BIC pens, etc.
    Car & Driver mag.
    Culligan water systems
    Dannon yougurt!
    DKNY (mostly womens stuff, but hey, a word to the wife/girlfriend/mistress...
    Glenlivet Scotch
    Jameson whiskey
    Michelin tires
    Mikasa glass and crystal
    RCA (no, it hasn't been an American company for years...)
    Sierra software
    Spencer Gifts
    Uniroyal tires
    Wild Turkey bourbon
    Yoplait (they own half)
    Zodiac inflatable boats.

  1. chas_m



    Wow rage issues

    Calm down, kiddies. This doesn't affect you in any way.

    Yes, the proposal is nonsensical -- and indefensible. Guess what? That's why there's a legal system. This will get struck down and forgotten about in due course. I'm sure Apple France finds it every bit as silly and outrageous as you do.

    Aside to Jarod (and Eriamjh) and your manly rage problems -- yes, ONLY France comes up with dumb laws like this. The United States would *never* pass any law that was ridiculously unfair or prejudicial. Yeah, that stuff *only* happens in France, those twats.

  1. 001

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2010


    I don’t understand

    Does anyone know why Windows is exempt?

    Only because it's a "full" desktop OS? Is having a desktop seen as a necessity whereas tablets are luxury items?

    as @cal6n alludes too, desktop OS' are capable of piracy. I'm not too knowledgable of Android, but I'd find it difficult to impossible to pirate anything on an iPad - would all iOS devices be subject to the tax? iPhones and iPods?

    Dude, France, you're confusing me.

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    To: 001

    Because no one uses it; it brings in no revenue! LOLL!

  1. TomMcIn

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001


    French Logic

    This was the country of the reporter that dumped all over Foxconn for its bad working conditions. If it was not for Foxconn, his government would have fewer products they could tax.

    And yes, there is a possible legal solution, which in turn is just another expense that must be covered in the cost of Apple products.

    Then to exempt Windows.... Maybe iOS can get an exemption as parts will be appearing in Lion - the best desktop operating system.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    Not that big of a deal

    iUsers can all afford a few dollars more. It's worth it for that user experience.

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