More Lawmakers Express Concerns Over Google-ITA Deal

    February 11, 2011

The passage of time doesn’t seem to be working in Google’s favor when it comes to the company’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software.  More than six months after the deal was announced, three additional lawmakers have decided that extra scrutiny is needed.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, Representative Howard Coble, and Representative Thomas Petri all wrote to Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney to express their concerns.  They didn’t entirely condemn the arrangement, but the mere existence of their letters is a bad enough sign.

For his part, Koster said, "This transaction causes me concern because of its potential impact on the ability of consumers to search on-line for competitively-priced airline fares in a market that has seen rapid growth due to consumer acceptance and utilization.  Ensuring that new sellers can gain meaningful entry into this market and that all sellers can compete against each other fairly is our mutual concern."

Then Coble and Petri, who coauthored a second letter, indicated, "We are writing about the pending acquisition by Google of ITA Software (ITA) and concerns that have been raised that this purchase could affect competition within the online travel service sector.  We ask that your ongoing review pay particular attention to competitive issues involving consumers, the online ad market, and the protection of intellectual property."

GoogleMeanwhile, Google hasn’t been able to (or at least hasn’t bothered to) introduce many new supporters of the acquisition.  The situation’s starting to look very lopsided, although legal issues, and not a popular vote, will of course decide the matter.

Hat tip goes to John Paczkowski.