Google Guilty For Providing Maps for Free

Google Maps - ParisGoogle was ordered to pay a fine of 15,000 euros, as well as 500,000 euros in damages and interest, to Bottin Cartographes by a French court on Tuesday.

Bottin Cartographes accused Google for being anti-competitive by providing Google Maps for free to some businesses in France, a service BottinCarto also provides for a fee.

The French mapping company asserted that Google’s driving competitors, like itself, out of business, with the ‘anti-competitive’ act:

“This is the end of a two-year battle, a decision without precedent,” said the lawyer for Bottin Cartographes, Jean-David Scemmama.

“We proved the illegality of (Google’s) strategy to remove its competitors… 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,” he said.

Google will appeal the court’s decision. The success of BottinCarto’s litigation could attract similar complaints from other smaller companies that are competing directly with Google’s products, normally offered free of charge.

However, it’s unlikely that Google will start charging for its map service in the foreseeable future. The service, like many of the company’s other products, is supported by advertisements.

4 Responses to “Google Guilty For Providing Maps for Free”

  1. Walter Miller

    You mean to tell me that something for FREE is now anti-competitive? That is the craziest thing I ever heard of. Leave it to both Government and Lawyers to make a mess out of everything and wind up costing people more money. Where is the common sense these days? Google should appeal.

  2. Walter Miller

    I forgot to add it is like the typewriter companies to sue the computer manufactures for losing their business. The same goes for Kodak they should sue the digital chip / camera manufactures for having to file for bankruptcy. In todays world it is all about change and competition. Maybe all the unemployed should sue the American manufactures for off shoring their businesses.

  3. William Furr

    @Walter: Pricing things below the cost it takes to produce them has long been a strategy used by anticompetitive would-be monopolists who have the resources to absorb losses that will drive their smaller competitors out of business.

    Google doesn’t quite fall into that definition, since their product is different from what they’re giving away for free. Their ad business puts them in the interesting position of using the ad revenue to drive the barriers to entry in other industries down so as to increase participation and thus grow ad revenue through increased usage on both the consumer and business ends of things like mapping.

    Just pointing out it’s a bit more complicated than you make it out to be.

    I’ve also never understood why increased productivity can increase suffering by putting people out of a job. If a robot can do my job better than I can, why do I end up poor or living on the street when I’m out of work? Shouldn’t I be just as better off as everyone else for having the robot do whatever I was doing before? It’s kind of a tricky thing, as it gets to the heart of how capitalist economies work.