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Google Fined $650K by Court for Making Google Maps Free

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on February 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Tech giant Google has been ordered to pay 500,000 Euros, or roughly $650,000, to a competitor by a French court. French company Bottin Cartographes had complained the company was engaging in some unfair competition.

Why? Because Google offered its map services for free.

The nerve! How could they do such a thing? Offering something for free? That is totally not cool.

The company's Maps API is available to businesses for a nice price of $0. Google only charges for its maps if websites have high traffic or require individuals to pay to access their site, according to The Verge.

The company will also be fined $15,000 Euros.

Bottin Cartographes originally filed the complaint in 2009. The French court's decision comes after two years of litigation.

Was there really a point to the lawsuit? There probably was. European laws are different than American ones. And it seems that the French company's allegations had some weight.

Bottin Cartographes claimed Google offering up its map API for free was actually a ploy. It said that Google simply wanted to temporarily incur huge costs of its own until it gained a strong market foothold.

And in the meantime, competitors would be felled. Not everybody has enough money or assets to afford offering a service for free. Imagine how hard it would be to compete with a product that costs nothing.

Google France plans to appeal the decision. A spokesman for the company said that there is competition in their sector.

Bottin Cartographes seemed pleased with the decision. But Google's recent fine by the French court may not be their biggest worry. The tech giant faced troubles last March when they were fined by France's data privacy regulator over its "Street View" images.

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