Last Friday, the DOJ cleared Google’s $700 million acquisition of travel software company ITA. The DOJ said that if Google complied with a proposed settlement, Google could in fact buy the company. It looks like Google has agreed to the DOJ’s terms, according to an update to Google’s blog post announcing that the deal was on its way to be cleared.
The DOJ said last week that if Google didn’t agree to the terms of the settlement, the search giant would be face an antitrust lawsuit. The DOJ requires that Google develop and license travel software, establish internal firewall procedures and to continue to fund software research and development in the industry.
And Google will be required to continue to license ITA’s airfare search software to airfare websites on commercially “reasonable terms” and continue to fund for that software at similar levels to what ITA has invested in recent years. Google is also mandated to further develop and offer ITA’s next generation InstaSearch product, which is currently in development, to travel websites, which will provide near instantaneous results to certain types of flexible airfare search queries.
Additionally, Google will be have to implement firewall restrictions within the company that prevent unauthorized use of competitively sensitive information and data gathered from ITA’s customers. Lastly, Google is also prohibited from entering into agreements with airlines that would inappropriately restrict the airlines’ right to share seat and booking class information with Google’s competitors. The settlement provides for a formal reporting mechanism for complainants if Google breaks any of these terms.
For Google, the closure of the deal must be a relief. The ongoing investigation must have been sapping legal resources. And the search giant can finally integrate airfare listings into its own search portal.