Feb 02 AT 2:54 PM Dustin Earley 48 Comments

Google Maps Navigation found illegal in French courtroom


Google Maps is the best at what it does. Navigation is usually spot-on, maps tend to be so accurate it can be creepy (especially when they include pictures of your house) and best of all, it’s free to use. Sure, you could nitpick the minor details, but who can really complain about a free-to-use service of such a high caliber? One competing company who charges for mapping services did, and took those complaints to a French court where Google may be facing some serious problems.

A French court has ruled that by giving away Google Maps, Google is stifling competition and creating an unfair advantage in the topographical market. The plaintiff’s (Bottin Cartographes) legal counsel touted their victory over Google, saying the ruling finally “proved the illegality of Google’s strategy.” For giving away Google Maps for free, Google must now pay a fine of 500,000 euros. This is the first time Google has ever been prosecuted for Google Maps, and they plan on appealing the decision as soon as possible.

It’s understandable that companies with a similar service to Google Maps would be infuriated when faced with a massive loss of profits because they can’t sell their product. It’s understandable that they would take Google to court over it. It’s not understandable that Google would actually be charged with doing something wrong by giving away a great service for free.

If Google’s appeal falls through, this may be just the beginning. Could you imagine a world where Google Maps requires a subscription fee? We’ll be keeping a close eye on this as the situation continues to play out.

Via: Engadget

Source: AFP

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Bryan Stoner

    If you can’t compete with all you’ve got then go home.

    • thechad

      Those French…what a joke! Though… there is one thing the French are good for…… wait its about to come to me……..hang on I think I remember……….no ………no…..I must have them confused with someone else.

  • Dmtdroid

    wow how could someone bite the hand that feeds so m any people free and amazing products, simply tragic i truly hope this gets thrown out

  • oddball

    This is really just the beginning though. Where does it end. Even if they charged a fee if it was less it would still be “unfair”. If this ruling stands it will drive players out of the EU which is not good for consumers but then again it seems like the politicians don’t much care about us anyway except when elections roll around

    • delinear

      Google should just turn off maps access in France – see how quickly the politicians overturn this decision when people are screaming to get their maps back.

      It’s a ridiculous decision though – Google maps isn’t free, it’s ad supported. Does that mean all ad supported services are illegal if they don’t charge a fee up front? That has such wide ranging implications, offline as well as online (ad-based TV channels would be illegal if challenged by subscription channels, for instance). Even forum sites like this could be found illegal if there is an alternative paid for version. Worse decision ever, let’s hope it gets overturned pretty quickly on appeal.

  • remmbermytitans

    Really guys? REALLLY? Sigh. The French at their finest once again.

  • MitchRapp81

    LOL @ French Court. LOL @ Europe in general for their ridiculous courts. Banning sales of the Tab, Xoom, Nexus etc… cuz they “look like” the iphone or ipad or iwhateverthehellitscallednow.

    Ever been to a grocery store? What’s the difference between a 2L bottle of Coke, and a 2L bottle of Pepsi? Same liquid color, same bottle, same shape, almost same taste …. OMG OMG

  • PacoBell

    Boycott Bottin Cartographes! Vote with your feet!

    • http://theinternet-allofit.blogspot.com Jorge Branco

      But where am I going to go with all the business I currently give to Bottin Cartographies?!

    • dcds

      Nobody knows “bottin”… they probably charge outrageous sums of money for crappy service.

      Google offers it for free and can sustain it with ads…

      Now tell me how crazy this is: if I’m capable of offering something for free or very low price, I must be punished because I must offer it for outrageous prices in order to not bankrupt crappy ***local*** ;-) companies that just can’t compete.

      State holding the hand of stupid companies. That’s why I frequently prefer the american way: free market meritocracy.

  • spazby

    stupid french, I have no words…

  • Billy

    Interesting. I will curious where this leads … seems kind of absurd to me though. I guess Google could charge a 25 cent (USD) annual fee or something. lol …

  • YMS123

    Stupid French, your loss

  • @madaboutandroid

    Surely the cost is the fact that google maps with navigation is only available on an android handset, which we have to buy. Typical of the French to jump on the kick google bandwagon.

    • honourbound68

      i don’t think they’re referring to only gmaps on android.

  • MitchRapp81

    Exactly. You have to spend 100 to 1000 dollars (depending on quality) for a single GPS unit, then pay another 60-120$ for map updates every year………….

    You STILL have to pay $$$ for a quality Android phone. Only difference is no map update fees. Still, 3G/4G etc.. fees apply.

  • Marvles

    Hmm… France better watch out we might have to bring back freedom fries…

  • steve

    Google Navigation is only on Android devices,right?

    So maybe i am missing something here, but Google didn’t enter into and undercut any market- they created the market that Bottin is trying to come into and charge for. Maybe they (if they are seeking to stay in the android navigation app market) should focus instead on delivering a premium service worth paying for, or get out of the market…

  • Thorpeland

    This re-affirms everything I know about France. lol

  • Owain

    The courts are bound by precedents at this stage, so we’ll have to see what the real decision is after appeal.

  • Prime

    Wow! Sueing someone for giving something for free!

  • sunrise

    WAIT. Did the French even pay for the GPS satellites up in space? I thought USA paid for and owns the actual satellites(except for the new Russian owned Glonass satellites).

    These GPS/Navigation companies in other countries need to stop complaining since they used the actual USA GPS Satellites for free to make a profit. They are just angry they can’t continue ripping off customers. Maybe when they launch their own satellites in space and spend millions of dollars doing so, then they can complain.

  • Mrwirez

    -Reminder!! While traveling Europe, we MUST use Google Maps, to bypass the litigious French state…

    -Btw, this will never hold up in court and I see it as a “free” advertisement for Google Maps.. #Losers

  • Jake Gall

    That’s Socialism for you. France government and justice system is based on a socialist system that deems everything must be fair even if it being free is unfair, just look how the idiot judge ruled for example. Is this asystem we really want?

    • Max.Steel

      I don’t think you understand the meaning of socialism.

  • Gr8Ray

    Just point a few toy guns at them, they won’t be able to surrender fast enough.

  • aranea

    French are so weird. They can’t take something when given for free.

  • Max.Steel

    So fucking stupid…

  • R.S

    Lol at the stupidity of suing a company for giving away something that’s similar but better than the product you are trying to sell.

  • cb2000a

    Only in France..C’est La Vie!

  • redman618

    I really hope that Google says fuck it and pulls out of the whole entitlement society of the EU. Then they can realize how great they had it because some mapping company will be milking them for their fee. My question is why did they not sue Apple for their maps app? I guess when your on top everyone tries to rip you down!!

  • mimstyle

    French is a crap.

  • Martin

    Hmm, but since most Maps users probably have Android they could charge us 5 bucks and then give us the same amount of discount in Android Market =)

    But I’m guessing the French still wouldn’t approve =P

  • Oskar Wismierski

    What the hell? They’re suing Google for giving something for FREE??!! this is retarded..

  • Duncan Mackenzie

    God damn French, who the hell do you think you are? The UK has a long standing hatred for you and your people already, don’t make It worse.

  • Nathan D.

    wow this is stupid, like what the hell are you doing suing Google for? There is nothing wrong with what they are doing, if you have a problem of what they are doing then make a better service that is worth paying for, don’t just sue the competition just because they are doing better then you, it call competition don’t become like apple being little ae holes.

  • Adam Curtis

    keep in mind this IS the French, and they are quite brain-dead and retarded… That being said, this is absolutely ridiculous. Like wtf, if your product was better then people would buy it. So what if another company offers a free solution?

  • Mykel

    So, in France giving away healthcare for free doesn’t “stifle” competition but giving away directions does? I wonder if they would be against giving away food, clothing, shelter, etc.? Doesn’t that take business away from restaurants, department stores and home builders? Only in France…

  • WlfHart

    That judge must have been either drunk, bribed, or both…

  • benben

    Sad to see how multiple posts contain prejudicious comments about France and French people.
    This is only about the legal system which by the way isn’t exactly healthy in the US either.

  • danny8x8

    Have you heard that you can’t sell a fruit or vegetable if it’s odd in shape.
    e.g if a banana doesn’t look like a banana, you can’t sell it. If a tomato isn’t round, you can’t sell it.

  • al

    “remmbermytitansGuest 12 hours ago
    Thumb upThumb down +14
    Really guys? REALLLY? Sigh. The French at their finest once again.”

    one company sue google… happens everyday in the rest of the world…

    “mimstyleGuest 9 hours ago
    Thumb upThumb down 0
    French is a crap.”

    french fu** you

    “Duncan Mackenzie 7 hours ago
    Thumb upThumb down 0
    God damn French, who the hell do you think you are?”

    people that doesnt agree

    “The UK has a long standing hatred for you and your people already, don’t make It worse.”

    UK people… dont have money anymore, pay in UK pound, drive on the left side of road, have invented friendly fire…

  • Colonel

    Please !

    Understand this is not a politician decision and french people do not approve. It is a retard judge, just ONE guy !!!


  • Kel

    The article is wrong.

    Google maps has not been declared illegal, that’s bullshit.
    The decision was about the Maps API that give free use of the maps (the premium API was not “sued”)
    bottin cartographie believed it was unfair as they charge for this service.

    As far as I’m concerned bottin cartographie should suffer a painful death.
    But writing false statement in article… Please…

  • Bman

    Shameful of france for even rule on this case! Freedom Fried all over again!

  • Taylor

    Ce qui est absurde!

  • Brian

    Google does charge for map usage. If you want to make an app and charge for it, you have to pay them. This seems baseless.