FairSearch members commended the Department of Justice in broadcast interviews on Friday for its decision to impose strong conditions on Google-ITA, including strict monitoring and reporting requirements on its activities in online travel and a mechanism for interested parties to bring allegations in the future if Google takes steps to undermine competition in that market.
In a statement, the DOJ voiced 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.”
In an interview on Bloomberg West, KAYAK Chief Marketing Officer Robert Birge applauded the decision:
“We are very pleased by this decision and the Justice Department is active in a way that’s going to protect competition. We are specifically pleased because we asked to get assurances that we’d continue to have access to this product, we asked Google to get assurances that they would protect our proprietary technology, that they would have access to as part of this acquisition, and they said no. And today the Department of Justice acted in a way that is going to protect us.”
Tom Barnett, counsel to Expedia Inc. and former head of the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice, told listeners on Southern California Public Radio’s stations:
“We do think that this is a positive step by the Department of Justice, and is a win for consumers… the key concern here was that Google was going to get the ability to cut off access to this ITA technology by important travel websites like TripAdvisor, Kayak, Orbitz and others. And by ensuring continuing access to that and ensuring that there will be continued development and innovation on that platform, that’s a win for consumers because they’ll continue to have those choices when they go onto the internet to do travel search.”