'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Google Inc. won government clearance with restrictions Friday for its $700 million purchase of airline fare tracker ITA Software in a deal that will give the Internet search giant a key role in online travel.
Google wants to become the hub of online travel, promising better bargains and more convenience by melding the Internet search leader's wizardry with the Web's top airline-fare tracker, ITA Software.
European regulators are tackling a puzzle that could shift the balance of power on the Internet: Is Google stifling competition by juicing its search results to favor its services over its rivals?
Several leading Internet travel agencies and search engines are trying to convince U.S. government regulators to block Google Inc. from buying a technology supplier that plays an instrumental role in finding the best airline fares.
"They clearly decided that they want to keep an eye on Google," said Thomas Barnett, an attorney who represents Expedia Inc., which opposed the ITA deal in a coalition with other online travel services including Microsoft Corp.'s Bing, Travelocity, Kayak Software Corp. and Farelogix Inc.
He said no agency has gone after Google the way the European regulators are in their current investigation.