A French court has ruled that Google’s free Google Maps application API is anti-competitive and has ordered the company to pay €500,000 to Bottin Cartographes, a for-pay map company, as well as a €15,000 fine. Bottin Cartographes argued that Google was only planning to give away the service for free until all the competitors had been driven out of business and then they would start charging. This seems implausible to me, and contrary to Google’s business model (give away services, make money from mining the use of those services). Google says it will appeal.
“This is the end of a two-year battle, a decision without precedent,” said the lawyer for Bottin Cartographes, 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,” he said.
I wonder what Bottin Cartographes will do when OpenStreetMaps finishes producing high-quality, free, public domain maps of France that can be used to create APIs of the same scope and utility?