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French court fines Google France 500,000 euros for gratis Maps

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A Parisian commercial court has upheld a lower court's ruling against Google France, ordering the company to pay a fine of €500,000 for giving away its maps services. The plaintiff, Bottin Cartographes, claims that Google leveraged the market share of its Maps platform -- and the fact that it's free -- to undercut and stifle competition attempting to sell their topographical wares to businesses. "We proved the illegality of [Google's] strategy," said Bottin's counsel, noting that this was the first time Google has been convicted of malfeasance for this particular piece of software in the country. A representative from the search giant said it plans to appeal the decision, and reiterated the company's belief that competition exists in the space. Personally, we think the court got it right. Why should people get an awesome product for free when they can pay for an inferior one, right?

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