UPDATE: Google, ITA deal approved
The Google logo.
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Google today could get the government green light to buy airline fare tracker ITA. With the approval, Google would have control over the software that powers major U.S. airline reservation systems. And online fare comparison services such as TripAdvisor and Hotwire. Critics have raised anti-trust concerns.
Professor Shubha Ghosh has been watching this case. He teaches law at the University of Wisconsin and joins us now. Good morning professor.
SHUBHA GHOSH: Good morning Steve.
CHIOTAKIS: Remind us why Google wants to get in the airfare tracker business.
GHOSH: Well the main reason is to have a more integrated search. I think from a consumer perspective, the idea is to aggregate existing search engines so that consumers can tie into through Google to existing travel search engines and facilitate their search that way. And another reason would be through advertising.
CHIOTAKIS: What is the anti-trust concern?
GHOSH: The anti-trust concern with the acquisition is whether first existing travel search sites would still have access to the software. The concern in the marketplace is that once Google has acquired this software that is essential or an important feature of these existing travel search sites, that it now may have some sort of unfair advantage in the marketplace and may potentially even deny access to the software.
CHIOTAKIS: Eventually though how is this going to affect people wanting to book flights online?
GHOSH: It could affect them in a number of ways. If Google becomes the only place that provides this type of travel search in an effective and meaningful way, then that might affect the kind of access to information that consumers would have.
CHIOTAKIS: Shubha Gosh is professor of law at the University of Wisconsin. Thank you professor.
GHOSH: Thank you. My pleasure.