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Google target of unfair competition lawsuit and investigation

A healthy spirit of competition is part of the American marketplace. However, if one company gains a monopoly over an industry and suffocates others’ attempts to compete, it can harm companies in New York and elsewhere. Is it possible for a business to be too successful to the detriment of others that can’t keep up? Numerous lawsuits claiming unfair competition suggest as much.

Unfair competition might include such behaviors as being deceptive, falsely advertising a product or service, stealing or misusing trade secrets or any other type of activity that harms competitors. It may also define the actions of a company that takes advantage of its success. A recent lawsuit against the massive Internet company Google makes such a claim. The online map company Streetmap is suing Google for unfair competition, claiming Google drives traffic to the company’s own Google Maps through Maps OneBox. Instead, the lawsuit asserts, Google should compete with other online mapping companies based on the quality of the maps.

As a result, Streetmap executives say they have experienced a significant loss of web traffic because of Google’s monopoly on the market. Google, however, claims Streetmap is experiencing problems because its service has not been updated in more than 10 years and has failed to keep up with consumers’ evolving preferences. Google is also currently under investigation by the European Union for alleged misuse of a dominant position and anti-competitive behavior.

The results of this lawsuit and the investigation against Google are yet to be seen. Companies that can bring innovative technologies to consumers may achieve outstanding success. However, it may be bad for an entire industry, as well as for customers, if a company becomes so successful that others are not able to compete and keep prices down.

Source: Computing, "Google sued by Streetmap over 'unfair' competition," Graeme Burton, Nov. 5, 2015

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