U.S. Legislators Voices Concern Over Google-ITA Deal

A few more hurdles added to Google's seven-months-pending acquisition of flight information software company ITA.According to All Things Digital, two US House members and the Missouri Attorney General sent letters this week to Christine Varney, US Asst. Attorney General in the Antitrust Division, to express concerns over what they see as the potential ramifications of […]

A few more hurdles added to Google's seven-months-pending acquisition of flight information software company ITA.

According to All Things Digital, two US House members and the Missouri Attorney General sent letters this week to Christine Varney, US Asst. Attorney General in the Antitrust Division, to express concerns over what they see as the potential ramifications of allowing the deal to go through.

In one letter, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wrote in a letter to Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney dated Feb. 9, "This transaction causes me concern because of its potential impact on the ability of consumers to search online for competitively priced airline fares in a market that has seen rapid growth." "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."

Representatives Howard Coble (R-NC) and Thomas Petri (R-WI) urge Varney to "pay particular attention" to the deal's impact on competition in the marketplace.

Aside from any potential for control of travel services, Google already has a dominant position in search and search advertising. Critics of the deal argue that once Google becomes a participant in the travel services market, it might use its advertising dominance to steer consumers to its services, further limiting competition.

Google said in a statement, "This acquisition will inject more competition into flight search, not less, and give consumers more options."

[tags]critics,ita,travel search,antitrust,attorney general,congressman,deal,doj,hurdles,intellectual property,missouri,house representative,statement,travel search engine,search advertising,advertising[/tags]

[Source]