Life won't be all that bad and might even improve for big online travel firms like Priceline (PCLN) and Expedia (EXPE) now that the Justice Department has given Google (GOOG) the green light on its $700 million acquisition of flight data provider ITA Software.

And a Kayak executive, however, praised the DOJ's decision, released Friday. It imposed on Google a set of conditions that analysts, and the online travel industry, consider tough. The terms govern how the search leader uses and licenses ITA's travel technology.

Moreover, Google agreed to let the government track its compliance for five years. Analysts say the five-year monitoring clause could, if need be, form the basis of a larger antitrust review in the future.

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Amadeus expects positives from Google-ITA Software deal

Amadeus is predicting renewed interest in new search and shopping technology products from agents and suppliers in the wake of Google’s purchase of ITA Software being approved.

Amadeus says it is studying the conditions of the proposed settlement and will not speculate on what Google may or may not do with its $700 million prized asset.
But while on the one hand Amadeus says it has ”not noticed” ITA Software outside of the US, where the Massachusetts-based company effectively powers a string of metasearch engines and online travel agencies, the ramifications of the deal will be felt around the wider industry.

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Google antitrust deal sets stage for bigger fight

The U.S. government’s agreement to allow Google to buy Internet travel programmer ITA Software - with a few sensible restrictions - is just the appetizer. The main course in the extended meal shared by Washington and Silicon Valley will be control of the huge markets for broad Internet search and mobile operating systems.

Travel companies such as Expedia and Hotwire lobbied against Google’s acquisition of ITA, which makes software for many airfare and travel search websites, travel agents and airlines. Their fear was that Google would use its new subsidiary to gain an unfair advantage in online travel search. Stipulations that Google must continue to develop ITA’s software, license it out to rivals and ring-fence their data should reduce these concerns.

Yet travel sites aren’t the only businesses complaining that Google uses its powerful position to its own advantage. The company has about two-thirds of the U.S. market for Internet search and a share in excess of 90 percent in parts of Europe. And Android, its operating system for mobile phones, may be following. It is now the most popular smart phone operating system, with a rapidly growing 33 percent slice of the U.S. market, according to comScore.

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