Google Maps Charged With Unfair Competition In France For Daring To Be Free

from the how-dare-you! dept

Once again, we get to see the entitlement culture at work — this time over in France. JohnForDummies points us to the news that a French company, Bottin Cartographes, is suing Google over its Google Maps offering, because Google lets companies use its web mapping services for free (how dare they!). Bottin Cartographes, on the other hand, offers a similar service that it charges for. Apparently, it seems to think that “competition” itself is “unfair competition.” Why should Google have to charge just because this other company has a bad business model? We’re back to companies declaring felony interference with a business model.

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Companies: bottin cartographies, google

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Comments on “Google Maps Charged With Unfair Competition In France For Daring To Be Free”

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61 Comments
Anonymoussays:

They are actually onto something here.

Why does Google offer free maps? It isn’t just to be nice guys. They are doing it as a loss leader to get more people to Google search (similar to many other Google ideas).

The problem is that in some ways, it is unfair subsidized competition, running a 100% loss business in order to support another business.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“doesn’t go ads on google maps”

You must have a reading comprehension problem because I never said they did. You’re missing the point.

You said, “They are doing it as a loss leader to get more people to Google search.”

Why do advertisers offer free advertisements? It isn’t just to be nice guys. They are doing it as a loss leader to get more people to use their products. By your logic commercials should not exist.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Loss leaders are fine – until you start loss leadering an entire industry – then it becomes a form of dumping, something the WTO even gets upset about.

Basically, Google maps isn’t a self sustaining business. You start getting into that nasty territory of market domination, where a company uses it’s riches from other markets to not enter into a new market, but rather to kill it completely.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Loss leaders are fine – until you start loss leadering an entire industry – then it becomes a form of dumping, something the WTO even gets upset about.”

By that logic we should just ban open source software offered by the GPL. If free open source software completely replaces video games that charge or if it completely replaces operating systems that charge I see nothing wrong with that. If corporations can’t compete in a free market they should die, we shouldn’t create laws to artificially make things more expensive.

“where a company uses it’s riches from other markets to not enter into a new market, but rather to kill it completely.”

Google did not kill the market. People use Google maps so the market exists. If a competitor wants to compete they are free to, but if they can’t offer something that ADDS value they have no right to use the government to take away value that other corporations provide just to make things artificially expensive. If it’s cheaper on society to allow a company to use economies of scope to provide a better product at a cheaper price and to increase aggregate output what’s wrong with that? We shouldn’t subsidize other corporations by restricting a more efficient way of providing a product. Google provides a more efficient way to provide a product and that’s good for society, restricting the free market to disallow them to utilize economies of scope will yield an inferior product by other companies at a more expensive price. Why should society take a less efficient pathway to providing a good or service?

Ryansays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:


Google did not kill the market. People use Google maps so the market exists. If a competitor wants to compete they are free to, but if they can’t offer something that ADDS value they have no right to use the government to take away value that other corporations provide just to make things artificially expensive. If it’s cheaper on society to allow a company to use economies of scope to provide a better product at a cheaper price and to increase aggregate output what’s wrong with that? We shouldn’t subsidize other corporations by restricting a more efficient way of providing a product. Google provides a more efficient way to provide a product and that’s good for society, restricting the free market to disallow them to utilize economies of scope will yield an inferior product by other companies at a more expensive price. Why should society take a less efficient pathway to providing a good or service?

Bingo, stated perfectly. It blows my mind how many people will actually support artificially raising prices or subsidizing jobs at a loss, thus increasing market inefficiency.

The entire point of having an economy is to reduce the inefficiency in consuming scarce resources! The more products that can be offered at lower prices, the less aggregate scarcity exists for everybody.

If we allow people to lose their jobs in an inefficient or unnecessary business model instead of propping it up — that’s good! We can refocus our energies in other areas that are less efficient, and people will get new jobs there that are actually needed.

If some business comes in and offers a service or resource sustainably for free — that is perfect! Zero(or negligible) scarcity is the ideal for which society should strive to attain. If businesses and/or their employees are not actively reducing scarcity by providing lower prices or new services/goods/innovation that otherwise would not exist, then they are negating the very point of jobs and currency in the first place…

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

and besides corporations may donate to charity. If I have a lot of money and I want to donate to charity I have that right. Likewise, If I have a lot of money and I want to provide the world with a superior free program (ie: under the GPL) I have that right. If I want to provide the world with a superior free map service like google maps I also have that right. Just like I have the right to give money to charity and so does Google. If it’s my money I can do what I want with it (to some extent of course). Google should have the same rights just as well. Sure a corporation may donate to charity just to improve its public image, attain recognition, and become more well known so that it can advertise themselves and gain profits, it may have nothing to do with being nice, but they still have that right. Likewise, if they want to give the world a superior map service at a cheaper price what’s wrong with that? Why should we prevent them from increasing aggregate output and improving the welfare of society if they wants to do something nice?

Fatducksays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

It is possible that if a company were not allowed to offer a mapping service at below cost, the result would be better consumer choice and value in the mapping service market, though with a price floor above zero.

Not taking a stand one way or another, just saying it’s not so cut and dry.

Ryansays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Your logic is senseless. If some alternative is not free but is better than Google Maps, thus convincing consumers to buy it…then it will compete with Google Maps in the status quo. If you have to force up the price of Google, then any additional consumer choice is not worth the extra cost.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Exactly, they have to offer a mapping service that offers enough ADDED value to justify the added price (in the free market, that is, the cost to consumers who are free to go to a free mapping service like Google maps). If they can’t then the added cost is not worth the added value and having the government force consumers to pay more provides society with a loss.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“It is possible that if a company were not allowed to offer a mapping service at below cost, the result would be better consumer choice and value in the mapping service market, though with a price floor above zero.”

I think such is highly unlikely. This is a free market, if someone else wants to offer a better map for free or even if they want to charge for a better mapping service they are free to do so. If the market values the new mapping service enough to pay for it then they are free to. If they don’t they are free to go to the cheaper one (ie: google maps. It’s not free because people pay for the Internet connection). Society, the free market, will choose what they value more, their money or the benefit they get from a mapping service that costs money. If we have the government regulate the free market then we are saying that the government is best suited to choose what individuals value more and I have to say such a notion is complete and utter nonsense. The government has no business choosing what I and the population values more.

bigpicturesays:

Re: Unfair?

What’s unfair about that, do you know anything about business at all? Give your head a shake!! The market determines somethings value. Then there are those who manipulate the market to create monopolies or artificial scarcities, but even paper printed maps you can buy in a gas station for $2 or $3. With the PCs so ubiquitous why would electronic copies cost more. Do the folks at the gas station make money off selling maps or selling gas??? Or are the maps just conveniently at the gas station, because maps, cars and gas go together???.

Ryansays:

Re: Re: Re:

And Google provides apps for free so that you will come use Google. Either you believe they’re getting something out of you recognizing their name(advertising) or you believe they’re getting nothing out of it and they’re just doing it for the public good(charity). Either way, what the fuck are you bitching about?

Anonymoussays:

virtually every service provided by google is not paid for by consumer dollars. instead, it’s billions of microtransactions where you’re selling your privacy for this service.

you also have to remember that when you’re as big as google, filing motions to dismiss for bullshit lawsuits like this is just a cost of doing business.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

lol i remember when cable first came out it was just shows no comercails

you could watch shows that has swears fighting volience all of that

now you have 400 channels of all the same shit
and 25 mins of real show to 35 mins of fucking advertising

to the fucking hell with them

i think and find it crazy that

companys pay to have there ads on tv to support the station
cable does the same thing and then also charged a shit load of money to send you the same ads
to force you to watch more of there shit ads to buy more of there shit products LOL

i dont see any real value in cable at all what does it offer

that over the air does not

let me tell you i get better HD over the air then i did from the cable company as i was stealing there cable which no longer do cus there had nothing worth watching

Dark Helmetsays:

Re: Re: When you can't compete, sue

“How is the EU similar to the Nazis? I’m a bit at a loss for the comparison”

A. Unified European continent was one of Hitler’s stated goals, and not only to be achieved militarily. He actually didn’t really want to go to war with Europe, he wanted to go to war with Russia. He actually envisioned a mostly non-hostile takeover of Europe.

B. Actual control resting with the big banks. Much like in Nazi Germany, the political leaders aren’t REALLY the ones in control in the EU. It’s the banks, mostly what is commonly referred to as the Big 3, which has actually grown by a few banks. The way the Bilderburg types are wielding power in the EU points to a style, if not the actual culpability, of the Illuminati/Majestic12 types.

C. Nationalism and the rule of fear. One of the tenants Nazi Germany was creating an us vs. them mentality in every aspect of life. In Germany is was the Aryan race vs. the International Jew. In America it has become the Freedom Lovin America vs. International Terrorism. Europe lacked some a unifying enemy for a long time, and to some degree still does. But in business, that enemy is America. It’s interesting to note that the ownership on both sides are comprised of the same banks. The two sides keep fighting, and the only one that will surely win will be these mega-banks.

Anonymoussays:

Re: When you can't compete, sue

Incidentally, the French did present much the same type of opposition to the German invasion during WWII. There was an enormous ‘wall’ built which was essentially a glorified WWI trench-war defense line. When the Nazi-led German assault came to France, they did not bother fighting with the old and clearly useless strategy of walking directly into a trench-war (it was less than 20 years earlier this was proven to be nothing but a waste of human life). The German army parachuted behind this defense line (new business model?) instead.

Dark Helmetsays:

2nd day, and already we're at New Rule #2

Sigh. As decreed by Lord Helmet:

“a French company, Bottin Cartographes, is suing Google over its Google Maps offering, because Google lets companies use its web mapping services for free (how dare they!)”

Okay, this one applies to EVERYONE, and is a two-parter.

1. Thou shalt not sue someone for something that had NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH YOU. If party A gives something generally legal to party B, party C doesn’t get to sue…well anyone, really, since they WEREN’T INVOLVED IN THE FUCKING TRANSACTION. If it was a BAD thing, party B would be suing, you idiots. What do you think is going to happen, you sue party A, pissing party B off, and then party B is going to BUY from YOU? Jesus….

2. Any party that uses the legal system in their respective country to stomp their feet and pout like a six year old is going to get treated like one. You want to sue just because somebody did something you don’t like, even though the legal basis isn’t there? Well, okay, but then all of your employees AND ANYONE invested, by law, must go to bed at 7pm (No you can’t stay up to watch the Oreilly Factor you assholes), can’t eat any ice cream until they finish their peas, and for God’s sake, don’t talk to strangers.

As Lord Helmet has written it, so it shall come to pass….

ChimpBush McHitlerBurtonsays:

Re: Problem Solved

…Not really. As far as these French fucks can see, ANY competition is unfair. If Google were to charge half of their rate, they would claim it was a loss leader for Google. If Google charged 3/4, same thing.

Unless Google charges the exact same amount or more, they will call it “Subsidized Competition”.

Truth is, if they could force Google to charge the same price as they ask, that would be price-fixing. TOTALLY ILLEGAL.

You can’t win.

CBMHB

jjmsansays:

Google maps isn’t a self sustaining business because it isn’t a business. It is part of Google as a whole. The way you are talking charging less than cost for milk to get people into a Grocery store should be illegal because it makes the dairy case unprofitable. Dumping occurs when the industry receives a subsidy from the government to cover its costs and sells the product at below its production value. Not to mention it is hard to see how not charging for maps kills the market. The market is still there it is just not profitable.

Fatducksays:

Despite a lot of knee-jerk “WELL BAN COMMERCIALS THEN!?!?!!!!!11” responses, this isn’t a totally uninteresting economic question. While this particular example seems a little frivolous, is not the ability of a company to use its riches from one market to compete at extreme advantage in other markets a potential market failure?

Anonymoussays:

Re:

“Despite a lot of knee-jerk “WELL BAN COMMERCIALS THEN!?!?!!!!!11″”

A: I explained why your logic was bad, if your logic can be refuted by a “knee jerk” reaction than who’s fault is that.

B: I also explained the economics behind why your logic is bad just as well. It wasn’t a knee jerk reaction, it was an analytical discussion over why your logic is wrong.

“While this particular example seems a little frivolous, is not the ability of a company to use its riches from one market to compete at extreme advantage in other markets a potential market failure?”

Oligopolies exist all throughout markets and they often provide services throughout many markets. It’s called economies of scope, go look it up. Microsoft offers word processors and operating systems, for one thing, because offering both provides the benefit of economies of scope. So lets just eliminate Microsoft. In fact, lets eliminate grocery stores since they use their riches from one market (Product A that they sell) to compete at extreme advantage in other markets (product B that they sell). It’s called economies of scope, if it provides a better product at a cheaper price, if it provides more economic efficiency, what’s wrong with that. It’ll be silly to have a different store for each and every single product that is sold (but by your logic that’s what we’ll do), the grocery store sells multiple products because of a thing called economies of scope. Corporations often make many different products because doing so provides economies of scope.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

…so? Every penny they spend on maps is a penny they can’t spend elsewhere? What exactly is the issue with how Google decides to spend its own money, especially when it 100% benefits consumers? Are you inferring it is somehow better for the competition to be subsidized by the government at the expense of the consumers?

SailingCyclopssays:

Re:

Because google is subsidizing it’s “FREE MAPS” with search money

So what? Verizon subsidises StarzPlay with connectivity money. So? I don’t see the problem. I get movies for cheap! So what’s so bad about that? It benefits me, as does free Google services.

I don’t get it, if folks don’t like Google, simply don’t use them. Go pay the Frenchie company for your maps, I don’t care. Don’t ask me to pay for your stupidity however!

The Buzz Sawsays:

Huh?

Why is this other business offering paid subscriptions to mapping services? What about other map services that are free? Shouldn’t they be switching to another business or at least offering something unique to its paying customers? No one is ENTITLED to compete. If someone else offers a superior product all around, tough beans. Can I open a small bookstore and sue B&N for unfair competition on my first day?

Anonymoussays:

A consumer's perspective

I use Google maps on my iPhone all the time. From locating a movie, a restauraunt, or directions to someplace. Google maps is wonderful, it’s free, it works, I love it! As far as I am concerened, it’s one reason I have a smart phone.

If the French have a problem, all they have to do is block Maps from all the French. Problem solved. Who the hell are they to tell me I have to pay for something, now free, to support some foreign company?

This is stupid! Another frivolous anti-free market bag of crap, which can only hurt the end users, US the consumer.

SailingCyclopssays:

Loss of privacy?

Every time you walk out of your house, a cop-camera takes a pic; every time you use an atm, turn on your computer/cell phone! Privacy went out the window when the Internet became ubiquitous. Free is the best deal around! Especially in this economy. I can’t believe people are even discussing such a lame and stupid proposal as making Google charge for maps.

This is a good and valuable service, it’s free, it works, leave it alone!

Corrahnsays:

A better analogy for you guys might be Xbox Live vs PSN (Playstation Network)

“PlayStation Network, often abbreviated to PSN, is a free online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service provided by Sony Computer Entertainment for use with the PlayStation 3.”

“Xbox Live is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service created and operated by Microsoft Corporation. It is currently the only online gaming service (on consoles) that charges users a fee to play multiplayer gaming.”

Xbox Live charges money and is still very popular, because compared to the free PSN it’s well worth the price.

Nikolaisays:

And it rolls onward

The problem here is that, in the tech industry at least, anti-trust laws have become nothing more than a weapon to be used by corporations against each other. Any conceptual validity they had, in terms of protecting the consumer, etc, went out the window years ago, and the crusade against Microsoft is a huge reason for it.

On top of that, the government has now been given carte blanche to take money from anyone it pleases and meddle wherever it wants.

And what did you get for it, oh MS-haters (including, it must be noted, Google’s legal department)? A ballot box. Great job, guys, that was totally worth it. Really, just boffo job. Fantastic.

PrometheeFeusays:

Dumping is not allowed because the way it works is that you kill competition and then you raise your price back up. Basically, if I am a giant supermarket chain and I want a monopoly, I will drop all the prices on my product in one town using my deep pockets to finance the loss. The result is that every other business in that town will die. I can then safely raise my prices back to monopoly pricing and screw the consumers. The way google works is completely different. Google Maps is sustainable as part of the whole of Google. If all other map services disappear, Google is unlikely to start charging for Google Maps simply because it would go counter to what their business model is. Google Maps is free because if Google charged for it, they would be making less money.

lrobbosays:

Google may not be directly charging for usage but we all pay in terms of their internet domination allowing them to serve up never ending adverts to us to the point where you can’t even watch a youtube video without having your head battered in with drivel beforehand. Yeah, so we can change search engines but most people don’t even know there is anything else out there, they think google literally is the internet and these services just help pump their brand whilst they take an ever increasing hold on our lives.

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