French Court Fails Digital Economics; Claims Free Google Maps Is Illegal

from the yeah,-google's-going-to-jack-up-the-price? dept

Three years ago, we wrote about Bottin Cartographes, a French mapping company, suing Google because Google offers its Google Maps product (mostly) for free. Bottin argued that this was unfair competition, and suggested that it was a version of dumping -- whereby Google was giving away the product to intentionally wipe out the competition, at which point it would raise prices. Amazingly, an economically clueless French court has now agreed, and told Google to pay a fine and damages for its nefarious practice of giving away a product "for free." This is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. Is there any example of Google first wiping out all competition in a market with a free product... and then suddenly jacking up its prices? Yes, Google recently started charging for those who uses its mapping API a lot, but there's nothing, whatsoever, to suggest that the use of free here is somehow an anti-competitive move, rather than just a recognition of a wider strategy. In the meantime, if Google offering free maps in France is somehow illegal, you have to wonder what they think of a project like OpenStreetMap?


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:25am

    But...but...competing is hard.

     

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  2.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:29am

    If I was Google...

    ...I would immediately pay the fine and then pull the Google Maps product from France and replace it with a description of the lawsuit and an explanation of why the product is no longer available with links to the Courts and Government if the user wished to make their thoughts on the subject known.

     

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  3.  
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    Torg (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:42am

    Wait, I'm confused. People actually pay for maps?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:44am

    FREE GEOGRAPHY IS KILLING THE GEOGRAPHY INDUSTRY!

     

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  5.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:46am

    Re:

    w00t w00t!!

     

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  6.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    Apart from those freetard map stealers who run off copies at the local library and sell them at train stations and bus stops to unsuspecting tourists!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:48am

    Your report is inaccurate. Please read the judgement, then report it again. Thank you.

    In French:
    http://www.numerama.com/magazine/21483-google-condamne-en-france-une-tres-bonne-decision.ht ml

    Actually, Google has been fined because Google Search has a monopole in France and because Google Maps is too much promoted by Google Search, therefore creating an unfair advantage. Gratuity enters the equation, because with its research monopole and the ads money, Google can make Google Maps free and, once again, has another "unfair" advantage.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:54am

    Re:

    Apparently so. Which brings up one more issue, in a age where nobody needs to pay for maps, people still do. You'd think they would be happy they're still relevant in this futuristic age. Instead of adapting to meeting that different set of consumer needs of the people paying them money, they decide they follow the advice of greedy lawyers looking for money. Oh well, I guess copyright lawyers need more money from legacy industry.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 4:59am

    but

    free maps help tourists sorry terrorists.

     

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  10.  
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    John Doe, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:08am

    Re:

    I thought that monopolies were bad because they drive up prices, not drive them down? So what's the point of the lawsuit again?

     

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  11.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    Re:

    Srsly? They can add a lot of value to their maps. Offer layers of geo information, specific regional maps with a plethora of information that Google alone can't offer or it isn't that easy to find.

    You can compete, it just takes more effort. The company just succeed in making a fool of itself and the French courts have just succeed in making yet another fail of themselves.

     

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  12.  
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    Chargone (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:12am

    Re:

    ...
    ...
    ...

    so Google advertises one of it's products using a different one of it's products, both in arenas where it does not, in fact, have a monopoly?

    there are other search engines.
    there are other sources for maps.

    it's the Internet.

    now, they may be the only company bothering to do searches In French (... and seriously, if your solution to that is to make the situation such that they would want to stop doing so, you've got problems), but that's not the same thing as being the only search engine available In France. (well, unless Microsoft etc have decided to be incredibly stupid and cut off their service there when i wasn't looking, which seems unlikely.)

    so, yeah, i can see the point that some of the details in the article may be wrong... but the situation isn't any less stupid for it.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:12am

    Re: Re:

    They wasted more then 3 years and large sums on money on lawyers. They could have used that time and resources in far more profitable ways.

     

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  14.  
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    Torg (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:13am

    Re:

    And Microsoft was judged to have an "unfair advantage" when they started giving away Internet Explorer for free with Windows, but that doesn't mean anyone should have to pay for a web browser.

     

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  15.  
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    abc gum, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:13am

    Re:

    "Google has been fined because Google Search has a monopole in France"

    Is it positive or negative?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:14am

    Textbook exmple of dumping

    Comparing the economics of Google maps and openstreetmap is misleading and unethical journalism.

    OSM is and will always be free (as in freedom, not only in price) while Google offered their service for free only to break competition and dominate the market, and are now charging for it, that is a textbook example of dumping.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:16am

    Re: Textbook exmple of dumping

    Then where's your textbook citation?

     

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  18.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That.

    I should clarify that boosting their own maps in the results could be a bad thing but can they return location results on the French company maps? I mean, is it a matter of PROMOTING their service if you look for maps or use their own maps to point out location searches?

    Bing has its own maps too, I take it the company is suing Microsoft too?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:20am

    Re: If I was Google...

    Seconded, that would probably be a very effective way to deal with stuff like this.

     

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  20.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:23am

    Re: Textbook exmple of dumping

    Break what? They offer it for free. And they spend shitloads of money to maintain it free. It's the same thing (OSM and GMaps), the only difference is that Google offers advanced tools for those who pay.

     

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  21.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:25am

    Re: If I was Google...

    That would raise a lot of awareness to the case indeed. And it'd be really bad reputation for both companies, 1 for tanking it offline and the other for suing the one.

     

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  22.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:26am

    Re: If I was Google...

    Better yet, they're appealing the fine.

    So...

    If they win the appeal, they should then pull Google Maps from France and put up the reasons why.

    Then watch as people bitch that Google's acting like a spoiled brat.

     

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  23.  
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    Lorpius Prime (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:27am

    Reminds me of when the printing shops deviously lowered prices in order to put all of the cartographers drawing maps by hand out of business. I swear, there's simply no respect for propriety in the business these days.

     

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  24.  
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    MAJikMARCer (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:28am

    Re: Textbook exmple of dumping

    Obviously there IS still competition and if Google is now charging others now have an opportunity to compete.

    Hey I'm all for supporting the little guy but if Google's product is superior, regardless of the price, and consumers are being well served I fail to see the problem.

    Additionally Bing and even MapQuest are still in use (can't speak for use in France so my point may be bunk) so Google Maps has competition.

    Maybe some smaller, traditional map makers may be failing but that's due to the change in technology. Evolve or die. To me this case is no different than the old guard media companies complaining about how the Internet is destroying (really just changing) their market.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:28am

    what do you expect from a country that is run by a poisoned little dwarf who doesn't give a crap about the people?

    on another note: and yet another industry complaining about having to compete. wonder which industry will be next?

     

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  26.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:29am

    Re: Textbook exmple of dumping

    Uh, what? Your post is jarbled junk.

    Since when has Google MADE you pay for their services?

     

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  27.  
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    Torg (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Re: Textbook exmple of dumping

    Google charges 4 dollars per 1,000 views for sites that use its map service more than 25,000 times per day, and directly accessing Google Maps is still free. Yes, that isn't totally completely free for everyone, but it's closer to OSM than it is to Bottin Cartographies.

     

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  28.  
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    Guillaume Champeau, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:35am

    You got it wrong

    If I may, I think Techdirt got this one wrong.

    The French court has not sentenced Google for offering a free product. It is actually a very subtle judgement that is quite hard to explain but let me try.

    The judge said that Google made an unfair use of its highly dominant position (90 % of the search market in France) to crush competition, and that it could not have offered its Google Maps API for free if it was not because of how it planned on using the information on the very markets it has a highly dominant position upon (search and online ads).

    OpenStreetMaps is perfecly ok, because it does not use a dominant position on a market to crush competition on another market.

    Google Maps would have been ok, if it was not so tightly tied to the entire Google services. For instance, when searching for "plumbers in Paris", Google Maps competitors are 900 pixels below the top of the page, which is all dedicated to Google services. In France, where Google has 90 % of the search market, it is viewed as an abuse of its position.

    French readers can read my comments here :
    http://www.numerama.com/magazine/21483-google-condamne-en-france-une-tres-bonne-decision.html

     

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  29.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:36am

    Re:

    Indeed.

    If everyone did everything for free, society might collapse because everyone would be equal!

     

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  30.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:40am

    Re: You got it wrong

    Hmm, perhaps, but I wonder, what is Google supposed to do?

    Not offer a map service in France?

    People in France would complain (someone would likely sue Google over this too) about the fact that every OTHER country gets a Google Maps service, but not them.

    Google's in a catch-22 here.

    Damned if you do (putting the maps up for free), damned if you don't (don't let people see the maps)

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:40am

    Re: You got it wrong

    That seems logical, all search engines keep their own services higher on the screen.

     

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  32.  
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    Guillaume Champeau, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:44am

    Re: Re: You got it wrong

    One solution could be that Google be forced to offer different map services, as Microsoft did for browsers with their ballot screen.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: Re: You got it wrong

    And that still wouldn't help the company suing. All they accomplished was help (maybe) Microsoft and Mapquest.

    Oh the mapanity!

     

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  34.  
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    Wolfy, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    Google has a monopole??? This is huge news! They were theoretical until now!

     

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  35.  
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    Greg G (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:53am

    Re:

    "...Google Maps is too much promoted by Google Search..."

    Yea, and Yahoo Maps are promoted by Yahoo Search, Bing maps by Bing, etc., ad infinitum. So what? Google is bigger and more popular, therefore richer, so let's just sue them.

     

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  36.  
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    Wolfy, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Coming from cheese-eating surrender monkeys, I'm not surprised.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:59am

    so you admit, they push thier product hard, then they have started charging for it

    ""Yes, Google recently started charging for those who uses its mapping API a lot, but there's nothing, whatsoever, to suggest that the use of free here is somehow an anti-competitive move, rather than just a recognition of a wider strategy.""

    so they pushed it to somehow make it a standard, then start charging, sounds like dumping and unfair practices, which you admit to, but don't accept, the court accpeted it

     

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  38.  
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    Torg (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:01am

    Re: You got it wrong

    So it's Netscape vs. Internet Explorer but with maps. The arguments are exactly the same but with different numbers. Do you consider it wrong for a computer to come with its own web browser? If not, explain why this is different.

     

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  39.  
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    TDR, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:06am

    Sometimes you just want to walk into these courtrooms and yell, "LUDDITES!!"

     

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  40.  
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    Falindraun (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:07am

    Re: If I was Google...

    I would stiff the court on the fines on the basis of jurisdiction. Where does france get off thinking they can fine an american company (unless google has offices in france). Then replace the google maps product on their site with a copy of the lawsuit and an explanation of why google maps is no longer being offered in france.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    OT: Leaked IFPI letter to the European parliament calls the protests against ACTA "attempts to silence the democratic process"

    http://www.iptegrity.com/index.php/acta/744-ifpi-accuses-protests-silence-democratic-process


    A lobbying letter, attributed to the IFPI, the international arm of of the recorded music industry, and circulated by a coalition of rights-holders, attempts to wear the mantle of the moral high-ground in Europe’s political battle over ACTA. This wolf in sheep’s clothing also appears to have access to documents which have been denied to civil society.

    The letter, leaked to IP-Watch, is signed by a range of rights-holder lobbying groups, including the European Publishers Council, the British Video Association, the Dutch collecting society BREIN, GESAC, IRMA, and the BPI. The European Publishers Association has the distinction of having James Murdoch, son of Rupert, on its board. It is being sent to members of the European Parliament, as well as to Ministers in national governments. It is believed that IFPI authored the letter.

    The letter accuses the citizens protests of “silencing the democratic process”.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:11am

    The french are known for making rational decisions... vous savez.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:13am

    Re: If I was Google...

    No... pay the fine, then make it PAYWARE in France with links explaining they were forced to bully people out of business by the courts. At least make sure that idiot cartographer goes out of business for real, not crying wolf.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re:

    Yes we need new laws to stop those damn pirates .. err thieves .. err content thieves ... err ok I give up.

     

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  45.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: If I was Google...

    Watch every company that uses google maps on a regular basis complain. That is the problem with government choosing winners and losers, they are always wrong.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:43am

    I sent the following email to the company and France. I am expecting a response anytime now:
    On your website, Bottin Carto proclaims:

    "Bottin Carto's keys to success: its drive to innovate, constant adaptation to the market, and multi-channel approach, together with a team that shares the same personalisation-oriented culture."

    I'm curious how the company can maintain this position given that it maintained a successful suit in France against Google for daring to offer a more competitive (i.e. - FREE) product. More specifically, how can Bottin Carto maintain in good faith "its drive to innovate" and "constant adaptation to the market" given the nature of the litigation?

    DISCLAIMER [albeit a snide one]: Aside from using the free email account and the other truly innovative services Google offers, I have no affiliation with the company. I just happen to have been reading about this story and was bothered enough by it as to be compelled to offer you this: I see right through that cloud of bullshit.

    P.S. - Although I'm an American that's never been to France or even Québec (which, by the way, sounds like an awful place - don't forget Celine Dion), I do begrudgingly insist on the French pronunciation of my surname.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    You don't know what an API is, do you?

     

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  48.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re: You got it wrong

    """The judge said that Google made an unfair use of its highly dominant position (90 % of the search market in France) to crush competition, and that it could not have offered its Google Maps API for free if it was not because of how it planned on using the information on the very markets it has a highly dominant position upon (search and online ads)."""

    Essentially, you are saying that Google is being punished for being successful. If they only had 30% of the search market, everything would have been fine, right? So it's all Google's fault for being a good search engine! It all makes sense, Google just needs to degrade their quality, thank you France for clearing that up for us!

     

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  49.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re:

    "Google Maps is too much promoted by Google Search, therefore creating an unfair advantage"

    So, what's the court's opinion on the numerous other competitors Google has in this arena, including many that are directly promoted by competing search engines?

     

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  50.  
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    EnglishPigDog, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:01am

    Re: You got it wrong

    What this is really about is protectionism; the French government protecting a French company from American competition.

     

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  51.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    Google charges sites 4 dollars for like every 1500 hits to their API if a site goes over 20k-30 hits per day... They don't do it just in France they do it all over...As far as I know, it has ALWAYS been that way.

     

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  52.  
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    A Monkey with Atitude, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re:

    Their French... Effort is for retreating... and suing... not working or innovating..

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    See Mike, for all your education and experience, you completely and totally miss the point.

    What Google does with Maps (and many of it's other services) is that it gives them away for nothing (aka dumping) without any expectation of direct return. Google Maps, as a stand alone business, would never exist. Without another very profitable business (advertising), Google could not offer the services.

    It is only recently that Google has started to put ads on the MAPS product... and even then, they allow embedded use without ads.

    What the French court is concerned about is that Google is using it's incredible dominant position in online advertising to finance attempts to take over other markets, pushing local incumbent companies out, and doing so by using their significant income from other businesses to finance this dumping of product.

    It should be noted too that with it's dominant position in social media videos, Youtube has suddenly cranked up the advertising to a painful level (one video ad per 3 videos on average, a lower third ad on pretty much every video, and at least 1 sometimes two ads in the related video column). It is clear from this angle that Google may intend to use the free product dumping to wipe out competition, and then turn around a coat it over with advertising to make money back.

    In many countries, this sort of product or service dumping is illegal, considered "disloyal competition" or something similar.

    I would say Mike that this is a case where you need to block off the American part of your brain and accept that other countries work under different legal and business systems.

     

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  54.  
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    DanZee (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Monopolies

    Actually a lot of people think monopolies increase prices, but in the Standard Oil case, Rockefeller kept prices on gas and oil low to keep out competitors. Microsoft kept the price of Windows low for years to keep out competitors, and raised prices when there were actual competitors (Apple, Red Hat, etc.). Like Google, monopolies can often keep prices low because being large, they're more efficient. Standard Oil was broken up into 34 different companies, including Exxon and Mobil, which raised operating costs and raised prices (and also made Rockefeller much richer than if the company was kept together).

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:48am

    Re: Textbook exmple of dumping

    I think you are using Google maps wrong pal. I haven't paid a cent. If you want to use their maps with an api that's a different animal. You are using their servers to make money off their api so it's reasonable that you have to pay.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Re: You got it wrong

    I don't know how you can think that is a sane argument. You see Google Maps when searching for "plumbers in Paris" on Google because Google recognizes that a map is a useful result to return for a search like that. It's the same reason you'll see some Google Image search results if you do a text search for something like "dog photos."

    Would anyone be complaining if Google Maps didn't exist as a separate product, but was just a "type of Google search?"

     

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  57.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Monopolies

    "Microsoft kept the price of Windows low for years to keep out competitors, and raised prices when there were actual competitors (Apple, Red Hat, etc.)."

    Erm, what? The list price of XP Pro was $299 ($199 upgrade). The list price of Windows 7 is exactly the same, 10 years later, with many ways to get extra discounts.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Monopolies

    Odd, my gentoo came free

     

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  59.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: If I was Google...

    They're not ALWAYS wrong...

    Just 98.75% of the time.

    Once in awhile they get things right.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re: You got it wrong

    One of the issues is that, with such a dominant position in the market, Google offering other "free" products on their search site can be taken as an unfair advantage.

    Google's success is search is their real problem for other businesses, as it gives them too much of an advantage already in visibility. Add in using their cash rich coffers to support otherwise unworkable business models, and you can see how the French courts got it right.

     

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  61.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re:

    Stop Plate Tectonics!

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    The report is inaccurate. It should be reported again as "French Court and Anonymous Coward Fail Digital Economics..."

     

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  63.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: You got it wrong

    The difference there, of course, is that you don't have the lock-in that other industries might force. Every single thing that Google offer has a direct competitor, and they're not even the most dominant player in most of their fields. In fact, many of them can be seen as abject failures.

    Google's dominance can get people to try their products first, but they don't force them to use inferior solutions if they don't wish.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    I don't think the article is suggesting that the court got it wrong under French law. I think the article is suggesting that French law got it wrong in terms of economics. Personally I agree, the law does get it wrong. Monopoly or dominant market position or whatever you want to call it is absolutely and unequivocally only a bad thing if it's bad for consumers, the competition is irrelevant. Competition is an inefficiency we tolerate under the premise that doing so nets a better result and usually it does. When it does not, however, there is no reason to cling to it.

     

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  65.  
    icon
    Joseph K (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    Candlemaker's Petition

    The ultimate irony is that the Candlemaker's Petition was written by a French guy. (For those who haven't read it, it's an satirical plea by the candlemakers to deal with the unfair competition from the sun)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
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    theangryintern (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    Wait, so how exactly does Google Search have a monopoly in France? There are probably at least a dozen other search engines available people can use. Google just happens to be one of the better ones and is the one most people use. There is absolutely nothing stopping the citizens of France from using Bing or Yahoo or Alta Vista or Ask Jeeves or Ask.com, etc, etc, etc...

     

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  67.  
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    Al Bert (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: If I was Google...

    They call those 'accidents'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Beta (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re:

    That judge would probably require that there be one of each in France, for the sake of fairness.

    ...And oh, the unintended consequences...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    Al Bert (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    can't have that

    I'm just waiting for this shit to become the popular 'solution' to open software projects in general. If it's not 'free' they can't compete with, it's 'quality'.

    I think that's the reason Google gained its power when it did. It provided a service that wasn't utter horrible shit.

     

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  70.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    You can't compete with free. You just CAN'T. It's absolutely impossible.

    That's why everybody is ignoring all the pay-for online games and playing Minesweeper and Solitaire. Microsoft has single-handedly wiped out the entire computer games industry.

    Speaking of maps, this nüvi that appeared on my dashboard last month? Ignore it, it can't possibly exist, because I already have Google Maps (with turn-by-turn navigation assist) on my Google Phone. And as we all know, you can't compete with free.

     

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  71.  
    icon
    BigKeithO (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: If I was Google...

    They probably got the idea from the US. If the US can shutdown legal websites in Spain, have people in New Zealand arrested and UK citizens extradited why can't a French company fine a US company?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
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    Beta (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re:

    To be fair, it's not that Google Search has a monopoly, it's just that Google Search dominates the market, and makes Google Maps more useful, thereby helping Google Maps to prosper in its own market.

    The court considers this situation intolerable, but any particular way of "improving" it will probably be unsatisfactory if it doesn't work and illegal if it does.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    Bwahahaha..
    Oh stop, you're killing me...

    "I can't compete!"

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Tipit, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    lol

    Has anyone told them about OpenStreetMap yet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:42am

    Re: You got it wrong

    1. What does it mean to crush competition? Is not the existence of OpenStreetMaps proof that such competition exists? Must a company be penalized simply for being the most successful?

    2. You seem to assume that Google pushes its Map results to the top artificially. Have you considered that this may be the natural ranking for those results based on user feedback of relevancy? If users find google maps results most useful, why should google display anything different?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
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    BigKeithO (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: You got it wrong

    The solution is for Google to offer up a competitors map service when someone willingly goes to Google looking for a map service? All because Google is the most popular map service?!

    I can see how Techdirt got that one wrong...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Borek, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:48am

    Marriage is endangered here!

    French prostitutes should now sue the wives of Bottin Cartographes' managers for having sex with them for free! OMG I'd love to see that...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    icon
    BigKeithO (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:48am

    Re:

    Ouch, uncalled for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They probably would if anybody actually used Bing lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re:

    If I recall correctly, Microsoft was accused of more than just bundling IE with Windows: they were accused of deliberately borking Windows if you installed a different browser. Now, I don't know if that accusation was true or not: somebody, please let me know!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    proximity1, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: You got it wrong

    Q: Would anyone be complaining if Google Maps didn't exist as a separate product, but was just a "type of Google search?"

    A: Yes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    proximity1, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re:

    You and others here defending Google's position should ask yourselves:

    "Is there ever a valid case of unfair competition? If so, under what conditions would I admit that some behavior constituted unfair competition?"

    So far, I haven't seen anyone here who is deriding the french court's ruling explain :

    how, if it were in fact the case that Google used its overwhelmingly dominant position in the search-engine market to unduly suppress the ranking and appearance of others--they, being competitors in certain so-called "free" "services" "offered" by Google --that this would not or should not constitute an unfair business practice (in the above, certain words appear in quotation marks to indicate their truly absurd character when applied in their ususal ordinary everyday sense to the world of Google-opoly);

    or how we're supposed to know that the page ranks just happen to fall out that way---just trust the very kind, generous and eminently fair people at the multibillion-dollar industry which is Google, and which happens to make a fabulously rich living by determining the search-results order for millions upon millions of individual's searches--often (always, isn't it?) in ways that directly influence Google's bottom-line.

    The case turns upon issues of market dominance and unfair--think "abusive" ---use of market position.

    Can anyone explain these other than by resorting to cute "cheese-eating surrender monkey" comments?

    P.S., by the way, that phrase became infamous at the run-up to Bush/Cheney's war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Recall, that the french people and govt. of the time tried to tell the U.S. govt and people that this venture was a very bad (and unnecessary) idea. How'd that war work out for you?

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    ..., Feb 14th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    france: when you support free maps your supporting terrorism!

    me: rainbow warrior....

    france: i will shut up now...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: If I was Google...

    blinding idea, best way to make people aware, if only google we're so inclined

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Good job ignoring the main point of the comment you replied to. Are the public complaining about Google's position in the market? Are the public complaining about the services Google offer? No, only their competitors. Where's the evidence of harm to the public?

    Have you considered that Google's dominant position in the market is the result of offering a great service that people want? Why should they change that service, to the public's detriment, to appease a few whiny competitors?

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

    So new business models are now deemed illegal, because the competition cant compete with free, because their to far behind google when it comes to business models that allow them to give their products and services for free.

     

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  87.  
    icon
    Nom du Clavier (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:09pm

    Re:

    The PIAA - Pizza-bakers Association of America - has already initiated lawsuits against purveyors of frozen pizzas. It's also considering filing suits against recipe websites, because it's clearly a travesty for people to download pizzas for free.

    ... or something.

    On a more serious note I wonder how gas stations will cope in an ever more plugged-in world. Will they too start suing electric/hybrid car manufacturers and charging stations left and right?

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:19pm

    Re:

    >I would say Mike that this is a case where you need to block off the American part of your brain and accept that other countries work under different legal and business systems.

    Emphasis mine.

    Why can't the same be applied to copyright? (Yeah, I know this article isn't about copyright, but that's never stopped the shills from calling Mike a piracy apologist regardless of what the article says.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:40pm

    Re:

    google search has a monopoly in france? french browsers can't display yahoo? mapquest? pdfs of frickin geography textbooks?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

    Re:

    google search has a monopoly in france? french browsers can't display yahoo? mapquest? pdfs of frickin geography textbooks?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    The Moondoggie, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Monopolies

    LINUX!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    icon
    bratwurzt (profile), Feb 15th, 2012 @ 5:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Their french (...) effort is for retreating..."

    I have no clue what you meant by this ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    Gary, Feb 15th, 2012 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: You got it wrong

    There was a question about Netscape and Microsoft this will explain.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_wars

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    proximity1, Feb 16th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, yes, let's all complain; that would surely soften the tender hearts that operate Google. Why, they just didn't know that there is actual public resentment at the fact that their stuff virtually rules the boards, pushes others off the radar-screen--and, uh, in their dominant position, they effectively hold sway over that "radar screen".

    I'm in the public; and I'm complaining. Though I expect you'll say next, "Weel, gee, there just aren't enough like you!"

    I know that already--just as I know that if American society weren't so overwhelmingly composed of ignorant, complacent morons, there'd be more chance it should occur to more Americans that they're being routinely played for incredibly gullible suckers. But, there you are. Many people don't bother to think much and among Americans, the entire culture favors the growth of thoughtless, careless, clueless stupidity.

    The profits in the cultivation of idiotocracy are truly staggering and so stupid is all the rage. Elsewhere, where mass-media haven't yet completely succombed to such prevasive influence over the public second-nature (un)thought processes, it's different and there, "people" complain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    JNV, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 7:29pm

    Sigh

    Another European cash grab.
    Take note US courts and judges and businesses, next time if a French company become as successful as Google in the US, you know what to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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