Justice OK's Google Purchase of Critical ITA Fare Tracker Software
The purchase of airline, fare tracker software business, ITA, by Google has been a closely watched and bitterly debated event in the travel industry for nearly a year.
Most travel professionals were opposed to the deal.
The question was always whether the Justice Department would approve the 700 million deal giving Google control of all air fare tracking data used to supply the major on line travel agencies (OTA) like Kayak Expedia, Orbiz.
Today, the suspense ended.
The government approved of the purchase,giving Google control over the reservation systems of most most U.S. Airlines and fare-comparison services.
The Washington Post with Bloomberg Business pointed out, however, that the approval comes with strings attached. Google must agree to continue to provide the critical information to air fare Web sites, and there is an established process for firms to complain about Google's process.
This, says the Washington Post, may well mark the first time Google will be monitored for antitrust behavior, and it's certain the affected air fare search engines will try to keep Google on a short lease, monitoring its practices closely.
Jeff Huber, senior VP at Google was quoted as saying that it's important to them that "ITA continue with business as usual, providing great service to its business partners."
But, a the saying goes, when the camel has its nose under the tent, watch out!