Google ITA Software Acquisition A Done Deal
Last week, Google’s ITA Software acquisition got the greenlight from the Department of Justice, provided certain requirements were honored. Google has now quietly updated its blog post from when that happened with a simple sentence:
“Our acquisition of ITA has now closed.”
Upon approval, the DoJ said:
In order for Google Inc. to proceed with its proposed acquisition of ITA Software Inc., the department will require Google to develop and license travel software, to establish internal firewall procedures and to continue software research and development. The department said that the proposed settlement will protect competition for airfare comparison and booking websites and ensure those websites using ITA’s software will be able to power their websites to compete against any airfare website Google may introduce. The department said that the acquisition, as originally proposed, 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.
Of course the FairSearch Coalition had plenty to say about it. We looked at their entire response here. Here’s the short version:
Today’s decision by the Justice Department to challenge Google’s acquisition of ITA Software is a clear win for consumers. The Department concluded Google’s unrestricted control over ITA’s key flight search technology would have violated the antitrust laws. By putting in place strong, ongoing oversight and enforcement tools, the Department has ensured that consumers will continue to benefit from vibrant competition and innovation in travel search. While this enforcement action is an important victory, Google’s abuse of its search dominance still threatens competition and consumers in many critical areas of online services. Antitrust enforcers and lawmakers in the U.S. and elsewhere must remain vigilant in their investigation of these larger concerns and take whatever further enforcement actions are needed to protect consumers.
TripAdvisor, one of FairSearch’s members (and is splitting off from Expedia) happens to be one of the sites listed as one of the top winners in Google’s new global algorithm update (at least in the UK).