Google Maps charged as "unfair competition" in France, is fined

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Google have lost over 500,000 Euros due to unfair practice concerning their Google Maps service in France.

Bottin Cartogaphes, who offer a similar mapping service to Google, but charge a fee, took the search giants to court, citing the free nature of the service gave Google an unfair advantage and constituted unfair competition.

A French commercial court sided with the local mapping service, and has ordered Google to pay 500,000 Euros of damages, as well as a 15,000 Euro fine.

“This is the end of a two-year battle, a decision without precedent,” said Bottin Cartographes’ lawyer, Jean-David Scemmama.

“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.”

A Google France spokesperson responded, saying: “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.”

Gerald Lynch