February 03, 2012 at 02:55 AM EST
French Court Fines Google for Free Maps
A French commercial court upheld an unfair competition complaint against search giant Google Inc. and has ordered it to pay a fine and damages to a French mapping company.
(IBTimes) -- 02/03/2012 --

A French commercial court upheld an unfair competition complaint against search giant Google Inc. and has ordered it to pay a fine and damages to a French mapping company.

The ruling Tuesday found Google guilty of abusing the dominant position of its application Google Maps. The French court ordered Google to pay 500,000 euros in damages and interest as well as a 15,000 euro fine to French mapping company, Bottin Cartographes.

According to the French company Google's strategy was to undercut its competitors by offering Google Maps for free until Google gained control of the market after which it would charge for the service.

"This is the end of a two-year battle, a decision without precedent," the lawyer for Bottin Cartographes, Jean-David Scemmama told the AFP.

"We proved the illegality of (Google's) strategy to remove its competitors... the court recognized 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.

Google is looking to appeal the decision according to a Google France spokesman.

"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," he said.

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