Google Maps draws fine in France for being free

google-maps-public-transit-web

Google has been ordered to pay a fine and damages to French mapping company Bottin Cartographes because it makes Google Maps available for free, undercutting companies that offer similar services for a fee. Bottin Cartographes had filed an unfair competition complaint against Google, claiming the search giant was abusing its dominant position in the Internet search market to achieve a leading position in the digital mapping market. The Paris Commercial Court agreed, ordering Google to pay a €500,000 to Bottin Cartographes as well as a €15,000 fine.

Bottin Cartographes argued that Google’s strategy in the mapping market was to swallow the full costs of providing mapping and location services until it gains control of the market. Once Google had eliminated the competition, it would be free to charge anything it wanted for the service.

“We proved the illegality of (Google’s) strategy to remove its competitors,” Bottin Cartographes’ lawyer Jean-David Scemmama told the AFP. “The court recognized the unfair and abusive character of the methods used and allocated Bottin Cartographes all it claimed.”

Google has indicated it planned to appeal the ruling, but did not respond to further requests to comment.

The fine itself is almost negligible to Google: the company has very deep pockets. However, the ruling could set a precedent for Google’s ongoing regulatory struggles in France and the EU. Google is the subject of another antitrust challenge in France (this one over AdWords) in which a preliminary ruling has already found Google guilty of abusing its dominant position in Internet search. Google also faces a similar complaint in Brussels, although Google did have a challenge to Google Maps by Euro-Cities dismissed by a German court last year. Google has also faced scrutiny in Europe for the privacy implications of its map-related Street View service, leading Google to abandon Street View in Germany.

[Update 03-Feb-2012: Germany’s Hot-Maps Medien Gmbh and Euro-Cities indicate that their antitrust complaints in Germany over Google’s free mapping products were not dismissed; rather, they have been rolled into the European Commission’s broader antitrust investigation of Google.]

Smart Home

Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub get huge price cuts

If you act today you can get an amazing deal on the first-gen Amazon Echo Show on Woot or the current generation Google Home Hub on Rakuten. The Echo Show works with Alexa and the Google Home Hub with Google Assistant.
Gaming

These awesome free-to-play games might be even better than the ones you paid for

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Home Theater

Google brings ad-supported YouTube Music to its Google Home speakers

Hot on the heels of Amazon's announcement that it's adding a free version of its Amazon Music service to Alexa-powered speakers, Google is adding a free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music to Google Home smart speakers.
Mobile

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Computing

AMD’s 2020 Ryzen CPUs could have a big boost in power efficiency

The sequel to AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slated for a 2020 release and when it arrives, could leverage the new Zen 3 architecture to deliver impressive gains to performance and power efficiency.
Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Computing

Dell slashes prices of XPS 13 and Alienware 17 laptops in latest promo

Dell's latest promotion will score you big savings on the XPS 13 or the Alienware 17. The stylish XPS 13's discount is for $430, and only the rose gold model is on sale, while gamers who choose the Alienware 17 will save $860.
Computing

Lenovo’s Yoga C930 sale drops a $650 discount on its 2TB SSD laptop

Lenovo is offering one of its 2-in-1 laptops at a $650 discount. This Lenovo Yoga C930 laptop comes with a 2TB solid-state drive, a digital pen, a fingerprint reader, and a Dolby Atmos sound bar.
Computing

You won't want to miss these deals on some of the best laptops around

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we have you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Computing

These business machines can rival any consumer laptop in style and function

These laptops have the reliability, performance, and battery life you need whether you're at your desk or flying across the country for a meeting, letting you to revel in a function-first approach.
Computing

Online passwords: Research confirms millions of people are using 123456

According to recent analysis of data caught up in cyber attacks, millions of people are continuing to use super-simple passwords, with 123456 topping the list of easy-to-crack codes.
Computing

Microsoft deal takes up to $400 off select Surface Book 2 laptops

Microsoft is running a promotion for the Surface Book 2, taking as much as $400 off the price of the laptop at the Microsoft Store. The promotion applies to select 13.5- or 15-inch configurations of the convertible laptop.