Apparently Giving Away Free Stuff is Illegal in France

I hate the French government for so many reasons but this one really takes the cake:

A French commercial court has found Google guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application and ordered it to pay a fine and damages to a French mapping company.

In a ruling Tuesday, the Paris court upheld an unfair competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against Google France and its parent company Google Inc. for providing free web mapping services to some businesses.

Google is being made to pay a hefty fine to the French state because they decided to give one of their services away free of charge. Like any anti-competition ruling this one serves to benefit the state, not consumers. What does Bottin Cartographes receive from this ruling? Likely nothing as the fine being paid by Google goes to the French coffers. How do consumers benefit? They don’t because Google is being punished for providing a free service. What sense does this ruling make? None.

The bottom line is if I wish to give away a product or service that I’ve created for free that is my right. Bottin Cartographes is claiming Google is giving away their Maps service for free to undercut competitors but in reality Google’s strategy form day one has always been to give away free services and make money on either advertising or premium features. This is the same strategy most web-based companies end up adopting including other well-known industry players like Facebook and Twitter.

I’m not surprised about this ruling of course as the French government seems to have a complete disdain for any entity that actually contributes positively to the economy.