Google gets approved for travel software company acquisition

10:33, April 09, 2011      

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Google on Friday got approved by the U.S. Department of Justice for the 700 million- dollar acquisition of flight-data company ITA Software with several commitments to preserve competition in online airfare search.

In its official blog, Google said it would close the acquisition as soon as possible and develop new flight search tools for users along with its commitments aimed at preserve competition in the field.

Under the settlement with the department, Google will be required to license ITA's software to other airline ticket search and booking websites. The Internet search giant is also asked to implement firewall restrictions within the company that prevent unauthorized use of information and data gathered from ITA's customers.

A formal reporting mechanism for complainants will also be established to monitor if Google gets engaged in anticompetitive act.

Meanwhile, Google is also required to continue to fund research and development, and offer ITA's next-generation software to other travel websites.

ITA Software, based in Cambridge in the U.S. states of Massachusetts, was founded by computer scientists from the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1996. Its airfare search and pricing system powered many popular airline ticket search and booking sites, as well as airlines.

Last July, Google announced the intent to buy ITA for 700 million dollars in cash, subject to the Department of Justice review and approval. Microsoft and several major online travel companies had urged antitrust regulators to block the deal, arguing it would lessen competition in the industry.

Source: Xinhua
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