Today a French court ruled that Google has broken the law by providing the Google Maps API for free. While this may seem like an extreme ruling it is based on the fact that Google used to offer the service for free then began charging once all of their competition had been beaten into submission. I wonder if Google are trying to do the same with schools and Google Apps?
Microsoft and Google have been caught out doing predatory pricing on quite a few occasions in the past. Essentially predatory pricing is where you provide a service for free then after a period of time (Usually once all of your competitors have been destroyed) you start charging for this service. Companies accomplish this “scam” by providing propriety software, propriety software is basically software that can only be provided by one company. I am constantly warning the schools of the risks of investing in propriety standards and I’m sure that nearly all of my readers are tired of me beating on this drum… In this case I think the court actually got it wrong.
Google Docs doesn’t thwart our ability to develop PrimaryPad, PrimaryBlogger or SchoolEmail further, it’s obviously that Google Docs does affect our bottom line but we develop PrimaryPad because we believe in our products and in we know that our contributions towards Etherpad and an open standard for collaborative writing on the web will ultimately be the winner of the war. Remember folks.. Good customer service and open standards always win.