updated 06:30 pm EST, Thu February 2, 2012
Google fined in Google Maps antitrust case
France on Wednesday found that Google had allegedly abused the dominance of Google Maps to squeeze out regional competitors. The American company was asked to pay 500,000 euros ($657,350) in direct compensation as well as a 15,000-euro ($19,720) fine. Bottin Cartographes had accused Google of price dumping by using its search ad business to give away the map service for free where Bottin had to charge for the same service.
Bottin argued to the AFP that the case proved the "unfair and abusive character" of Google's practices. Google vowed to appeal the verdict and insisted both that there was competition and that free didn't necessarily mean it was unfair. The site has long argued that companies and customers aren't locked into visiting its pages, although Google's clout on the web often means that competitors who aren't ranked highly may all but disappear.
The ruling is the first of its kind for Google Maps and follows an increasing sentiment among regulators worldwide that Google may be overreaching in various areas. It currently faces a possible EU antitrust case and is currently subject to an FTC investigation. Both investigations are concerned that Google is unfairly prioritizing its own services over others and is making Android partners use Google search to get the app support they want.
Bottins first sued Google in 2010.