Google Gets Green Light From Justice Department for Travel Acquisition

Google’s purchase of ITA Software, a travel and airline software company, has been given a thumbs-up by the U.S. Department of Justice — with a few important stipulations.

The DOJ had subjected the deal to some eight months of scrutiny to determine whether the search giant’s foray into travel and flight search might pose antitrust issues.

The sale was first made known to the public via media reports about a year ago, and Google confirmed the acquisition in July 2010

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ITA‘s flight search technology powers the company’s public airfare search engine, Matrix. Its QPX airfare shopping system is used by airlines and travel distributors around the world, and the company is also offering a new airline passenger reservation system.

Since ITA’s software powers many other businesses, the DOJ is requiring Google to continue “to develop and license travel software, to establish internal firewall procedures and to continue software research and development.” QPX and ITA’s other travel search products will continue to be licensed to other companies, even companies that might be competing with whatever travel search app or apps Google might introduce.

In this way, the Department hopes to keep competition for travel search fair. Department reps said that the original deal terms “would have substantially lessened competition among providers of comparative flight search websites in the United States, resulting in reduced choice and less innovation for consumers.”

Looks like the Google juggernaut continues…

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