Anti-trust committee urges conditions on Google-ITA deal

The US Justice Department should impose conditions on Google for allowing its purchase of ITA Software to go ahead, say a panel of US senators.

The chairman of the senate anti-trust panel, senator Herb Kohl, said Google’s $700-million deal to buy airline ticketing software company ITA threatens to deprive online travel retailers of access to vital technology.

In a letter to the Justice Department this week, Kohl wrote: “Many of ITA’s customers believe access to ITA’s technology is critical to competition in online air travel search because it cannot be matched by other players in the travel search industry.”

Kohl also urged the department to consider a ban on bias in air travel search results if it finds evidence that Google has manipulated results to direct consumers to its own services.

Google has pledged to honour ITA’s existing contracts. A spokesman for the company said: “We hope to drive more potential customers to airline and online travel sites.”

The US Justice Department announced a review of the deal in August.

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