Google fined for maps
A French court has ruled that Google Maps is stifling competition and creating an unfair advantage in the topo map market.
The French court ordered Google to pay €500,000 to French mapping company Bottin Cartographies, which had instigated a lawsuit in 2010. Google would also have to pay a €15,000 fine.
Bottin had alleged that Google used its size to wipe out competitors by offering products - specifically Google Maps - to the public free of charge.
This is reported to be the first time that Google has been prosecuted for Google Maps - and they plan to appeal against the decision as soon as possible. A spokesman commented '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'.
In March 2011, Google was fined €100,000 in France for collecting private data for its Street View. And from 2010 there is a continuing French case for €23 million against Google's AdWords involving Navx - a company that supplies speed trap and fuel price information.
And Forbes notes that Google’s business practices are under antitrust investigation the US, EU and Korea.
By way of comment, this sets an interesting precedent. There are many free map apps available - ViaMichelin, the AA and RAC, for instance, all cover France at no cost. Following this logic, they surely must also be prosecuted. And what about the thousands of free apps in other walks of life? Perhaps free provision of GPS is in the French court's sights . .
Details from Forbes below . .