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Justice Department about Google's acquisition of ITA Software 2011.04.09

Washington, D.C., USA - Friday, April 8, 2011 - The Department of Justice announced today that in order for Google Inc. to proceed with its proposed acquisition of ITA Software Inc., the department will require Google to develop and license travel software, to establish internal firewall procedures and to continue software research and development.

Photo courtesy of Google

Washington, D.C., USA - Friday, April 8, 2011

Justice Department Requires Google Inc. to Develop and License Travel Software in Order to Proceed with Its Acquisition of ITA Software Inc.

Mandatory Licensing, Research and Development Commitments and Firewall Requirements Will Preserve Competition in Online Airfare Search in the United States

The Department of Justice announced today that in order for Google Inc. to proceed with its proposed acquisition of ITA Software Inc., the department will require Google to develop and license travel software, to establish internal firewall procedures and to continue software research and development.

The department said that the proposed settlement will protect competition for airfare comparison and booking websites and ensure those websites using ITA’s software will be able to power their websites to compete against any airfare website Google may introduce.

Photo courtesy of Google
The department said
that the acquisition, as originally proposed, would have substantially lessened competition among providers of comparative flight search websites in the United States, resulting in reduced choice and less innovation for consumers.

From left to right - Eric, Larry and Sergey in a self-driving car.
Photo: The Official Google Blog
The department said that Google
will also be required to provide mandatory arbitration under certain circumstances and provide for a formal reporting mechanism for complainants if Google acts in an unfair manner.

Google maps.
courtesy of Google
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division
filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block the proposed acquisition.

At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive concerns of the lawsuit.

ITA Software’s QPX™.
Photocourtesy of ITA Software
“The Department of Justice’s proposed remedy promotes robust competition for airfare websites by ensuring those websites will continue to have access to ITA’s pricing and shopping software,” said Joseph Wayland, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
“The proposed settlement assures that airfare comparison and booking websites will be able to compete effectively, providing benefits to consumers.”

ITA Software’s QPX™.
Photocourtesy of ITA Software
Under the proposed settlement, Google will be required to continue to license ITA’s QPX software to airfare websites on commercially reasonable terms.
QPX conducts searches for air travel fares, schedules and availability.

ITA Software’s QPX™.Network Selling.
Photocourtesy of ITA Software
Google will also be required to continue to fund research and development of that product at least at similar levels to what
ITA has invested in recent years.

ITA Software’s QPX™.Flexibility. Flexible Date Shopping. Advanced Upselling Capabilities.
courtesy of ITA Software
Google will also be required to further develop and offer ITA’s next generation InstaSearch product to travel websites
, which will provide near instantaneous results to certain types of flexible airfare search queries.

ITA Software’s QPX™.Customization. Flexible Presentation of Reward Options. Customizable Interface.
courtesy of ITA Software
InstaSearch is currently not commercially available, but is in development by ITA

ITA Software’s QPX™.Flexibility. Flexible Search Parameters. Powerful Comparison Shopping.
courtesy of ITA Software
To prevent abuse of commercially sensitive information, Google will be required to implement firewall restrictions within the company that prevent unauthorized use of competitively sensitive information and data gathered from ITA’s customers.

The proposed settlement delineates when and for what purpose that data may be used by Google.

ITA Software’s QPX™.Multiple Destination Shopping.
courtesy of ITA Software
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.

Finally, the proposed settlement provides for a formal reporting mechanism for complainants if Google acts in an unfair manner.

Google Inc. is the largest search engine in the United States.
Google is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Mountain View, Calif., and with 2009 revenues of more than $23 billion.

ITA Software’s QPX™.Customization. Interactive Graphical Display. Intuitive Results Filters.
Photo courtesy of ITA Software
ITA Software Inc. is a leading producer of airfare pricing and shopping systems in the United States.
ITA is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass

As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed five-year settlement, along with the department’s competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register.
Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to James J. Tierney, Chief, Networks and Technology Enforcement Section, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 7100, Washington, D.C. 20530.

At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia may enter the proposed settlement upon finding that it is in the public interest.

Source: Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs


Facts about Google’s acquisition of ITA Software

On July 1, 2010, Google announced an agreement to acquire ITA Software, a Cambridge, Massachusetts flight information software company, for $700 million, subject to adjustments.

Google’s acquisition of ITA Software will create a new, easier way for users to find better flight information online, which should encourage more users to make their flight purchases online.

ITA Software’s QPX™.Multiple Destination Reward Shopping.
courtesy of ITA Software
The acquisition will benefit passengers, airlines and online travel agencies
by making it easier for users to comparison shop for flights and airfares and by driving more potential customers to airlines’ and online travel agencies’ websites.

Google won’t be setting airfare prices and has no plans to sell airline tickets to consumers.

Because Google doesn’t currently compete against ITA Software, the deal will not change existing market shares.

We are very excited about ITA Software’s QPX business, and we’re looking forward to working with current and future customers.

Google will honor all existing agreements, and we’re also enthusiastic about adding new partners.

Google's Acquisition of ITA Software


Source: Google Inc.


About ITA Software’s QPX™

QPX™ effortlessly searches – at a billion combinations per query – fares, schedules, and availability.

Its highly configurable XML interface lets customers make changes more quickly and efficiently, respond rapidly to shifting market conditions, drive sales, and dramatically slash distribution costs.

Used by leading airlines and travel companies, QPX fundamentally alters the way travel companies can do business.

Unlimited Travel Search Flexibility

Tap a deep well of potential revenue with advanced shopping features

• Enables configuration of all inputs and results to provide the optimal user experience across all applications and channels

• Easily handles the most complex search criteria:

o One-way, round trip, multi-city, and open jaw itineraries
o Multiple origin and/or destinations by radius or customer-defined affinity groups
o Highly flexible data and calendar shopping
o Every class of service
o Multiple passengers and any passenger type
o Highly configurable customer defined business logic

• Quickly calculates price and checks availability for all relevant itinerary options, including:

o Query results that include all fare bases, all taxes and charges, the horizontal fare calculation, currency details, flight information, schedule data, equipment type, customizable warning messages, and more
o Single- or multi-carrier itineraries with full cross-shopping capability
o Pricing solutions tailored by market segment, point-of-sale, channel, and even user
o All public and private fares, including zone fares, percent off, net fares, and flat rate fares
o IATA checks and tax calculations for all countries
o Any combination of single of multiple currencies

• Evaluates billions of flight and fare combinations per query, with customized value functions, letting agents and travelers quickly identify the best travel solution

Proven Integration, Scalability, & Extensibility

Integrate with ease & generate results quickly

• Quickly and easily integrates with existing systems

o Single, robust XML API can be deployed across all applications and channels
o Built on open systems architecture
o Scales without limit to support any number of concurrent users and transactions
o Proven deployment process with rapid time to market

• Makes optional business services functionality available to handle most common input and output processing for rapid UI development

• Delivers all the information necessary to book and ticket any itinerary

• Utilizes industry-standard data filings

• Offers industry-leading uptime and performance

• Backed by the industry's highest level of service and support, with:

o 24x7 in-house network and operations center that controls, monitors, and supports every aspect of your hosted application
o Unmatched disaster recovery capabilities
o Thorough and reliable testing environments

• License includes frequent releases of software, incorporating industry changes, updates, and customer enhancements.

About ITA Software

ITA Software ( www.itasoftware.com ) is a leading provider of innovative solutions for the travel industry.

, a comprehensive airfare shopping system, is used by leading airlines and travel distributors worldwide including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Bing, Continental Airlines, Hotwire, Kayak, Orbitz, Southwest Airlines, TripAdvisor, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and others.

ITA is now offering a completely new airline passenger reservation system to improve the customer experience.

On July 1, 2010, ITA announced a merger agreement to be acquired by Google.

ITA was founded by computer scientists from MIT and is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., USA.

Corporate Headquarters

141 Portland Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
+1. 617.714.2100

EMEA & India Regional Office

Herengracht 124-128
1015 BT Amsterdam
The Netherlands
David Peller, Regional Vice President - EMEA & India
+31 (0)6 4150 8856

Americas Regional Office

10 S. Riverside Plaza
Suite 1960
Chicago, IL 60606 USA
Tim Fahy, Regional Vice President - Americas
+1. 617.714.2570

Source: ITA Software


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