French court protectionism fines Google Maps for succeeding

Google Mapsflickr/Todd Huffman

Bottin Cartographes charges French companies for maps. Google Maps offers them free. French court levies 515,000 euro fine against Google.

Accused of abusing its dominant position in the market, Bottin filed suit about two years ago. Lawyers for Bottin argued that Google would gain control of the market by undercutting existing French map providers, then start charging. That was before Google announced their recent charges for map APIs supplied to businesses in the United States, so the French company may have a point.

However, as with all legal battles between big companies, the battle isn't over just because one court rules. Google indicated they will file an appeal. Since Bottin claims this is the first ruling against Google Maps for unfair competition, Google will work to reverse this decision.

Business comments

I speak fluent French and I love much about the French system. But when it comes to tech changes, they really are backwards.

Summer Seale on

Ah, the gallic whiff of protectionism. No wonder France lost its Triple-A, and the Euro is getting screwed.

Anonymous Coward on

Google's best plan would be to remove all mapping services for French IPs, citing the courts decision and as an attempt to avoid further fines. Either the court judgement will be reversed or the public will destroy Bottin through protest.

Optimaximal on

They should just bar Bottin Cartographes from using any of their services.

toyg on

Maybe they're right

Well Google Maps did exactly that with their API - started completely free and then began charging business customers quite a bit (Maps API for Business starts at $10,000 a year) after killing most of the competition, so the French authorities have a point there.

Anonymous Coward on

To be fair, two out of three precogs saw that Google planned to start charging for maps once all its competitors had gone bankrupt.

Mujokan on

What's the difference between a company dumping a physical good on the market and stifling competition, and one providing a free service in the online market and stifling competition.

guy72277 on

French are funny

A free product! Oh no the CAPITALISM! Also, "Amazon kills books", "Ford kills horses" etc.

Meanwhile, you actually have to *pay* for *copyrighted* maps that are made by government outfits.

Destroy All Monsters on

OK, that's does it. change French Fries back to Freedom Fries !!

Joh Garrett on

Who will the French courts sue when OpenStreetMaps, the free Open Source map service, hits their shores?

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