Google Fined $660,000 For Making Google Maps Free

8 Feb

Google is facing a $660,000 fine in France for making Google Maps free to businesses.

A recent authoritative official decision in a French commercial court may see Google put into much larger legal bind globally thanks to the “anti-competitive” nature of Google Maps. Why? It happened so because Google was offering a service which one of the French companies provided at free of cost. So the French company considered it  “anti-competitive” and filed  case against Google.

Honestly, it’s surprising Google isn’t facing additional anti-competitive lawsuits both locally and abroad. Case in point: a Verizon customer who purchases an Xperia PLAY smartphone has two options: use Google Maps, which is free, or use Verizon’s VZ Navigator which costs an extra $10 a month. Which service will the consumer likely use?

On Tuesday (Jan 31st) a Paris court side with French mapping company Bottin Cartographes who filed an unfair competition complaint against Google France and parent company Google for providing free web mapping services to businesses across the country.The latter provides the same service for free. It is thus complained to the court that Google’s strategy was targeted at undercutting competitors by temporarily enjoying the full cost until the market is controlled by the firm.

Jean-David Scemmama, the lawyer  for Bottin Cartographes cited,

We proved the illegality of (Google’s) strategy to remove its competitors… the court recognized 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.

Scemmama also added that Bottin argued its case against Google for two years. But at last Google France was instructed to pay 500,000 euros i.e. of about $660,000 in damages and interest to the plaintiff and also of an additional 15,000 euro fine for its act. Obviously Google France plans to make higher appeal.

“We will appeal this decision,” a Google spokesperson stated. “We remain convinced that a free high-quality mapping tool is beneficial for both Internet users and websites. There remains competition in this sector for us, both in France and internationally.”

Google fought the American court system last year in a Delaware District Court after British Telecom filed a lawsuit claiming that Google Maps violates patents it holds related to navigation information. Google also faced a 100,000 Euro fine in France almost a year ago for collecting private information via Street View drive-bys.

Source: tomsguide

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