Paris: A French commercial court has found
Google guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google
Maps application and ordered it to pay a fine and damages to a
French mapping company.
In a ruling yesterday, the Paris court upheld an unfair
competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against
Google France and its parent company Google Inc for providing
free web mapping services to some businesses.
The court ordered Google to pay 500,000 euros in damages
and interest to the plaintiff and a 15,000 euro fine.
The French company provides the same services for a fee
and claimed the Google strategy was aimed at undercutting
competitors by temporarily swallowing the full cost until it
gains control of the market.
"This is the end of a two-year battle, a decision without
precedent," said the lawyer for Bottin Cartographes,
"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.
A Google France spokesman said the company would appeal.
"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.
Google has previously faced other difficulties in France
and last March the country`s data privacy regulator imposed a
record fine of 100,000 euros on the company for collecting
private information while compiling its Street View