Google’s purchase of ITA was finally approved by the Department of Justice with certain conditions. The conditions need Google to develop and licence travel software, continue research and development of software and establish firewall procedures internally. The company will also have to, under specific conditions, provide mandatory arbitration and also provide a complaint reporting mechanism which will be used if Google acts in an unfair way. The deal which was originally proposed would have led to a substantial decrease the competition among the comparative flight search website providers in the US, which would lead to less innovation and reduces choice for the consumers, the Department of Justice said.
In a reactionary move Google announced in a blog post that the company was ready to extend the current ITA client contracts to 2016 and then let the customers license the QPX software of ITA on reasonable, fair and non-discriminatory terms.
The plan to acquire ITA at a price tag of $700 million was announced by Google in July 2010. The software company based in Boston specializes in organization of airline data like flight timings, prices and availability. Last year, Google said that the purchase will aid the company in producing new search tools for flights which will be aimed at simplifying tasks such as searching for the flights, buying tickets and comparing options.
However, other online travel companies were not pleased by the move. These companies launched a public battle against the purchase in October. They argued that the move will lead to an increase in travel prices, decrease in innovation in internet-based travel search and fewer options for travel. Google, at the same moment retaliated with a web post of its own which said that the company was disappointed by this campaign by the other companies.