Google fined for offering Maps for free

You may like that Google Maps is free, but a French court says it's actually anti-competitive.

(Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET)

A Paris court earlier this week ordered Google France and its parent company Google to pay plaintiff Bottin Cartographes €500,000 for providing its free mapping services to businesses across the country. The court also required Google to pay a €15,000 fine for its practice.

"We proved the illegality of [Google's] strategy to remove its competitors," Jean-David Scemmama, attorney for Bottin Cartographes, a company that provides mapping services to businesses, told the AFP in an interview earlier this week. "The court recognised the unfair and abusive character of the methods used, and allocated Bottin Cartographes all it claimed. This is the first time Google has been convicted for its Google Maps application."

According to Scemmama, Bottin has been arguing its case against Google for two years, claiming the search giant was engaging in anti-competitive practices by using its free service to take control over the online-mapping industry.

In a statement to the AFP, Google said that it will appeal the court's decision, adding that Google Maps is still facing competition in that market.

Late last year, Google Maps also came under fire in the US, after British Telecom filed a lawsuit against the search giant in a Delaware District Court, claiming the mapping service violates patents it holds related to navigation information.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Maps lawsuit.


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KenL1 posted a comment   

LOL, so now here are the solutions for crap online map businesses in France:

1. Google Map becomes a paid product then you guys can offer yours for free. Then can Google sue you after that?

2. Google Map becomes a paid product then you guys can sell it cheaper. What if Google price it for 1.00/mo? will you guys sue it again for pricing it too low? LMAO why don't you guys decide what price should Google put on for everything?

Good news~


alan uden posted a comment   

The B.. French should get a bit of common sense!
Without competition (that is different prices), there could be NO more than 1 company in any type of business unless their prices were exactly the same as each other!
Wouldn't that be price fixing?


M3ntalR posted a comment   

How can it be anti-competitive to provide a product or service cheaper than your competitors?! The is exactly what competition is all about! If no one tries to provide a product or service cheaper, then no one is competing and everyone pays too much. I'd hate to be a consumer in France.


DanC2 posted a comment   

That's ridiculous! So you are not allowed to provide free products to people anymore?

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