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French Court Fines Google Maps Over Unfair Competition
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msg:4413453
 12:16 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

French Court Fines Google Maps Over Unfair Competition [google.com]
A French commercial court has found Google guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application and ordered it to pay a fine and damages to a French mapping company.

In a ruling Tuesday, the Paris court upheld an unfair competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against Google France and its parent company Google Inc. for providing free web mapping services to some businesses.

The court ordered Google to pay 500,000 euros ($660,000) in damages and interest to the plaintiff and a 15,000 euro fine.

The French company provides the same services for a fee and claimed the Google strategy was aimed at undercutting competitors by temporarily swallowing the full cost until it gains control of the market.


 

graeme_p




msg:4413467
 12:45 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

What services are affected? What were Google doing. Its obviously a lot more specific than Google Maps being free.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4413475
 1:01 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

The French company provides the same services for a fee and claimed the Google strategy was aimed at undercutting competitors by temporarily swallowing the full cost until it gains control of the market.


Surely they cannot be right about that? they would not do that would they?

;)

Skier88




msg:4413502
 2:25 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is Google Maps running a profit? I was under the impression that, between ads, paid business access, and internal use for things like local search, it was paying for itself. (Even if it's not, I could see Google supporting it just for its vast utility, both internal and external. But that would still lend the court's decision a little credence.)

incrediBILL




msg:4413587
 5:30 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google should make a point that the maps aren't truly free, they are paid for by ads.

Just because the business model is different doesn't mean someone isn't paying for the service.

Considering Google kind of has a monopoly on the ads, that's where I see a big disparity issue. It's not the fact that they're giving it away "free" that's the real issue for me, but the fact that competitors would most likely have to use Google (AdSense) to get advertisers money to fund their own free product.

The real rub here IMO is how Google is poised to make money no matter what, even if you compete against them, you're still likely to help them earn money and it happens every day.

How sick and twisted is that?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4413630
 7:46 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

How sick and twisted is that?
Or some would say clever?
Demaestro




msg:4413673
 9:55 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't remember the last time I agreed with a court decision out of France.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4413681
 10:23 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

We made it 7 posts without a disparaging remark about France! Anyway, while I agree with the ruling, the fee is chump change and will not deter other billion dollar companies from taking a small slap in exchange for market share.

Lenny2




msg:4413776
 4:00 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder how many seconds it takes Google to make 1/2 a million dollars...

graeme_p




msg:4413788
 5:10 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think the reason the fine is so small is because it does not apply to Google maps as a whole. The story says:

for providing free web mapping services to some businesses.


So it does not apply to consumer use of Google maps, and probably only to some business use of Google maps, and presumably only in France.

Exactly what was deemed unfair competition is not explained. It is probably something like allowing other sites to embed Google Maps.

@incredibill, why do competitors HAVE to use Adsense? I would have thought that anyone with the resources to compete effectively in maps is likely to be able to sell ads directly to some markets, and to do good deals with other networks in others.

jecasc




msg:4413816
 7:59 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

My guess would be that Google was accused of predatory pricing.

[en.wikipedia.org...]

I wonder if this is the reason Google announced to charge for the use of Google Maps recently.

IanKelley




msg:4414965
 5:03 am on Feb 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't remember the last time I agreed with a court decision out of France.

Amen... French courts continued lack of understanding about how the internet works is so extreme it's bizarre.

claimed the Google strategy was aimed at undercutting competitors by temporarily swallowing the full cost until it gains control of the market.

There is no "until". Google is never going to charge for it's map service. Neither is Bing or Mapquest or Rand McNally or any other major player. Free for basic use is the online maps standard. Was, in fact, before Google even entered the market. Bottin Cartographes just got paid for refusing to accept reality.

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