The U.S. Department of Justice today approved Google acquisition of ITA Software, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that specializes in organizing airline data.
The DoJ announced that in order for Google to proceed with its proposed acquisition of ITA Software -- 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.
Google said "It's important to us that ITA continue with business as usual, providing great service to its business partners. We indicated last July that we would honor ITA's existing contracts. Today we've formally committed to let ITA's customers extend their contracts into 2016. We've also agreed to let both current and new customers license ITA's QPX software on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms" into 2016--along with related commitments aimed at making ITA's technology available to other travel sites."
"We're moving to close this acquisition as soon as possible, and then we'll start the important work of bringing our teams and products together."