Justice Department approves Google's plan to buy ITA - though not without changes

on Friday, April 8, 2011

Justice Department approves Google's plan to buy ITA - though not without changes  Google previously announced plans to purchase flight-data company ITA Software, but before the deal was approved it faced regulatory challenges. On Friday, the technology giant was cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice to go ahead with the planned acquisition - though it requires several concessions. 

Google will be able to buy ITA Software for $700 million, enabling it to better compete against companies like Expedia for the lucrative travel market. Per the Justice Department's order, Google will be required to license ITA's software to airline-ticket search and booking sites and must continue to finance research to improve the software at the same level that ITA has in recent years.

ITA software currently powers popular travel sites like Kayak.com and Hotwire.com, and Google hopes it can deliver airline ticket information to users more quickly with the purchase. The deal was widely opposed by online travel companies. Microsoft had urged the Justice Department to block the deal, affirming it would stymie competition.

According to the Justice Department, the reworking of the deal will prevent Google from dominating the online booking and travel industry. Per the Department's orders, Google must also implement internal firewalls that prevent the unauthorized use of sensitive information taken from ITA's customers. 

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