A French commercial court has ordered Google to pay a French map company €500,000 because Google provides its maps for free, making it too hard for the map company to compete and to try and sell its maps. How terrible! The company argued that: “Google was only planning to give away the service for free until all the competitors had been driven out of business and then they would start charging. This seems implausible and contrary to Google’s business model (give away services, make money from mining the use of those services). Google says it will appeal.”
Cato@Liberty points out the similarity to a French satire in 1845 where French candlemakers complained to Parliament of the unfair competition from the sun:
…We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival… is none other than the sun…
You just can’t make some of this stuff up!