Posted July 31, 2009 8:48 am by with 9 comments

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What if you had a pretty good thing going with your company? You had good market share, had decent revenues, and your software company was living high on the hog?

Then, then, Google has the audacity to enter the market and offer a completely free alternative. What would you do? You’d find a way to compete head-to-head and… sue Google, right?

That’s exactly the scenario playing out in France right now, according to TechSpot.

Citing unfair competition, Bottin Cartographies is demanding roughly $700,000 dollars in compensation. The heart of the matter is their web mapping services, which are made freely available to businesses around the world. While Google’s aim is to generate revenue through advertising, as it has always been, Bottin sees it as an attempt to stifle and swallow the market by undercutting any competitors.

Oh, my poor deluded, anti-American, French cousins. What in the world are you thinking? Do you know how many businesses have had to face the prospect of Google entering their market with a free offering? Just because you can’t figure out how to compete with Google, that doesn’t mean you can simply sue them. [Unless of course, that kind of thing is OK in France]

This case goes to court October 16. My advice to Bottin Cartographies is to man-up and grow a pair! 😉

  • Wee Wee mon – sewer …. Looks like this French company may want to order some cheese for that whine. What is it with competition and the Europeans? Stifle and swallow the market? Boy oh boy. Do they have separate school courses in hyperbole over there?
    .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..Good Sales Help is VERY Hard to Find =-.

  • That photo caption is hilarious.
    .-= Sheila´s last blog ..Hawaii Fact 28 of 50: How many people visit Hawaii each year? =-.

  • Andy, I think there is a huge hole in your scenario. Google is subsidizing free services with money gained from paid ones (mainly AdWords). Unfair competition is exactly that: using one dominant position in an industry to cut down competitors either by a) selling under cost, b) subsidizing revenues from one markets into another. This, in my opinion, has nothing to do with France (although I agree they are often quicker on the gun…) and much more to do with trading regulations and international trades.

    In my mind, another clear example of this is Google Analytics being free and offering a business benefit that should be priced while competing vendors are left with a very unfair playing field. GA market share is clearly biased by the ability to use advertising revenues to compensate the operational costs & development of GA. Nothing against GA itself, it’s a great product and I’m glad it’s contributing to the democratization of web analytics and contributing to the whole industry.

    Remember a story about IE being too dominant? Some would say it’s a totally different story, I say there are some similarities…
    .-= Stephane Hamel´s last blog ..Playing with Google Analytics Pivot Tables =-.

  • Olivier

    Thank you Stephane, for your much more knowledgeable and much less biased analysis.
    I don’t have much to add, except that as a french I’m disappointed with your article, your blog, and some of your commentors.
    I’m unsubscribing from your newsletter and won’t recommend marketingpilgrim to anyone anymore.

  • MAB

    Andy… what’s up with you?

    To me this is a frivolous lawsuit, and unlike Stephane, I agree with most of what you say as far as the case goes. But… whats’ with the anti-american stuff? So if a non-US company sues a US company, they’re anti-American? Please define anti-american, because now I’m afraid that if I say I prefer a Heineken instead of a Budweiser, that has nothing to do with my taste for beer and instead it means I jump out of joy when I see an American flag being burned. Please…. Those criminals who crashed the twin towers are anti-american. A clueless company that decides to sue Google is just that, clueless.

    Not to mention the way you make the point about the company being french as if that was even more important than anything else – starting with the funny caption and ending with the “french cousins” or the “unless of course, that kind of thing is OK in France”. France, France, France… Somehow I have a feeling you’re more anti-French than this company is Anti-American. They just want “Google money”, what does that have to do with being anti-anything? Geez…

    It’s also interesting, considering the US is likely the country with the largest number of frivolous lawsuits in the world.

    The only piece of information worth reading is the quote from TechSpot, so thanks for that.

  • Thanks to all of you for your comments. If you read Marketing Pilgrim expecting there to not be any bias, then you are in the wrong place. 🙂

    I’m as equally biased, as you are. Unlike other news sites, we try not to pretend that we’re impartial.

    If you look back through our archives, you’ll see that there have been many frivolous lawsuits that originate out of France and other news that suggest anti-Google (and anti-American sentiment) – that’s part of the formulation of the statements made above.

  • The article indicates Bottin Cartographies sells – correction – gives away web mapping services, for free, to “businesses around the world”.

    If they are already providing this service free, did they plan to raise prices later and are they claiming damage to their nascent web advertising business model from monopolistic competitors? Are they skimping on postage to send the same missive to Microhoo?

    This is not to suggest their case without merit – it is to suggest there just isn’t enough red meat in the article to tell us anything of substance (’tis time to drain the shallow end of the journalistic gene pool).

    If, on the other hand all that Frenchie wanted was some free publicity for whatever business they do have, bravo & kudos.

    To Frenchie: well played sir/mademoiselle.


  • Franck

    “I’m as equally biased, as you are. Unlike other news sites, we try not to pretend that we’re impartial.”
    So, the fact that you’re biased against french people actually makes your blog better than striving-to-be-objective ones?

    “there have been many frivolous lawsuits that originate out of France […] that’s part of the formulation of the statements made above.”
    You must really hate the US then?

    I guess I was in the wrong place too.

  • @Franck – yeah, you probably are in the wrong place. You see, I’m quite comfortable attacking idiots from all around the world. If you read MP on a regular basis, you’ll see that we don’t play favorites. 🙂