French court rules that free web mapping service is anticompetitive

Google Maps fined for unfair competition

Google has been ordered to pay damages to a French mapping firm after it was deemed that its free Google Maps application was unfair.

According to AFP, a Paris court upheld the complaint from Bottin Cartographes, and ordered Google to pay €500,000 in damages and a further €15,000 fine.

The complaint alleged that in providing web mapping services for free, Google was undermining other companies that provide the same service for a fee, and claimed that Google’s strategy would be to temporarily swallow the costs until it had gained control of the market.

“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,” said Bottin Cartographes’ lawyer, Jean-David Scemmama.

A spokesman for Google France said: “We will appeal this decision. 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.”

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