Google’s Half a Million Dollar “Giveaway”

It’s often said that in business, you get what you pay for. It’s also said that something given away for free has no value. Perhaps Google should have minded this because a French court has fined the company $660,000 for providing its Google Maps service . . . for free.  Yep, that’s all it took.

The court upheld an unfair competition complaint against Google for providing free web mapping services to some businesses. Though it might sound a little odd to the untuned ear, the ruling does raise an important question. In flooding the market with a no cost service, can a (now) dominant provider abuse its position and unfairly stifle competition by continuing to provide its services at no cost thereby making it impossible for junior users to enter the market?  Oui, says the French court.

Presumably then, Google and companies similarly placed could charge a nominal fee to use its service, thereby maintaining their position as market leader and allowing others to at least try to compete. Although, companies should be careful to not run the service at a loss as that would likely meet with the same judicial response.

You can read more about it here:


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