Google Inc.’s $700 million purchase of travel-information company ITA Software Inc. was cleared by a federal judge after the search-engine company agreed to conditions imposed by the U.S. government.
U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins in Washington today approved a consent decree between Google and the Justice Department that allows the acquisition as long as Google makes travel data available to search-engine rivals and lets the government review any complaints it’s acting unfairly. Wilkins said he found the agreement to be in “the public interest.”
Google Mashup is the name of reduced use and options on the hearts and minds of all competing services. The public won't see the damage being done to those pre-existing competing services until it's too late. Google isn't bringing anything new to the table besides their typical mashup of existing ideas, it's a shame that was approved without needing "more" from Google.
Travel's a volatile space falling under Google's distribution control, mainly for now in US/Canada :
Kayak [dealbook.nytimes.com...] delays IPO , several days earlier . Such models will be deeply challenged.
I think i read somewhere recently about Google travel looking to differentiate hotel offerings as well from the typical large players like Expedia and Priceline. Clearly they are going to be effectively selling travel direct in the US/Canada including hotels, cars and flights at the very least.
If they hold the distribution, smaller OTA's won't produce the volumes to secure deals strong enough to compete. They will also be challenged on PPC versus hotel chains direct. If they can remain visible.
The only folks large enough to challenge Google's dominance in the Courts are the big OTA's or the Feds direct. But i doubt if there is enough muscle or understanding on how to do it, it way more complex than the Microsoft days of settlement in the 90's and early 2000's IMO.
The judges caveats seem a bit weak, and I expect Google lawyers will have them grounded whilst keeping up good PR to the media about " doing the right thing".