Saturday, February 4, 2012

Raise Those Prices, Jean-Pierre - The French Government Demands It

The French are determined to continue their unofficial national motto of 'Le Ass, Le Gas or Le Grass - Nobody Can Provide Stuff For Free'.

Check out this classic decision - Google Maps was fined for providing maps for free to businesses.
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....
The French company provides the same services for a fee and claimed the Google strategy was aimed at undercutting competitors by temporarily swallowing the full cost until it gains control of the market.
Trying to provide maps for free, eh? That'll cost you 500,000 euros!

It's true that Google has begun charging for corporations that make large use of their mapping service.

So what can developers do against this vicious, anti-competitive behaviour?

One option is to switch to free, open-source mapping services. Which some companies have indeed started doing.

Now, you may look at this as evidence that there's plenty of competition for Google's free service.

But that just shows that you don't understand French courts! No, instead it is the open source mapping service being equally, if not more, anti-competitive. Once their open source product has driven out the competition, think how much they'll be able to exploit consumers by jacking up their prices!

This is of course in line with the French government putting mandatory prices on books, both electronic and paper. That'll teach you to try to sell products more cheaply.

Never mind that the benefits of lower prices tend to flow the most to the poor.

The French Government - putting the liberté in liberté économique.

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