For those living in Germany and rely heavily on Google Maps, you might want to start looking for an alternative because according to reports, Microsoft is pretty close at getting an injunction against Google Maps. A report on FOSS Patents has revealed that it is likely that Microsoft will be successful at obtaining an injunction against Google Maps after alleging that MMI’s German subsidiary is liable for infringement of a key Microsoft patent. The patent has been described as a “computer system for identifying local resources and method therefor”.
The ruling has yet to be made, but assuming that Microsoft is successful, Google will be forced to shut down its mapping service in Germany for both web and mobile access. In fact it has been speculated that a worst case scenario would be that Google could be forced to stop distributing Chrome unless it blocks access to Google Maps from its browser as well. Of course the injunction could be a scare tactic to force Google into a licensing deal, a scenario which German press agency DPA has reported as being likely. The agency has quoted a Microsoft spokesperson who says that a licensing deal could be “a way to end this war”.
Google argues that their Google Maps service is too important to shut down, especially considering that about 4 million Germans rely on Google Maps. Google also claims that by shutting Google Maps down, it could cause irreparable damage as customers might switch to alternatives, such as Microsoft’s Bing Maps, and may never return to Google again. The court is expected to make their decision in about two months’ time.