While this is not the first time Google Maps has landed in hot water in the recent past, it is the first time the Google has been convicted for it. The case of unfair competition, which has been going on for nearly two years, was ruled by the Paris court in favour of the plaintiff, Bottin Cartographes – a French company that provides paid “tailored mapping solution” for businesses.
Bottin Cartographes had complained that the Google Inc. was using its dominant market position, and providing online mapping solutions to businesses for free. Google has been ordered to pay €500,000 in damages and interest, apart from a €15,000 fine.
Jean-David Scemmama, Bottin Cartographes’ lawyer, commented on the decision:
"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."
Google Inc., perturbed by the decision, will be appealing it in higher courts. A Google France spokesperson elaborated:
"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."
In the meanwhile, Google Maps is having problems elsewhere as well, with Google Inc. currently in talks with the Chinese government to procure the new mapping licences required by the country. Out of the country for more than two years, Google and its Chinese partner Guixang, had apparently missed the deadline to apply for it.