Google quickly went from being a small fish in a big pond to being a whale in that big pond. They’ve come to the point where they can now, with apparent ease, absorb giant companies — even companies that run their opponent’s technologies. That’s the case with ITA, a flight information company that provides data for sites like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and even Bing Travel. Concerned that this acquisition may allow Google to dominate the market and engage in unfair practices, opponents have requested a federal injunction. It seems their voices were heard, since antitrust officials are now preparing for a court case against the search engine giant.
According to the Washington Post, the attorney of the U.S. Justice Department is laying down the framework and foundation for a case against Google’s $700 million acquisition. This has been a long time in coming, since the potential merger was first announced back in July of 2010. Competitors immediately complained that this would decrease competition and be harmful to a healthy market. The Justice Department, as of August of 2010, requested more information from Google, and caused delays on the deal until that information could be provided.
The law states that once the information is provided by the company, the Justice Department has just 30 days to make a choice on whether to halt the company’s action. Google has finished complying, and it now seems that we’re in that final window. The decision on whether the deal will be halted hasn’t been determined, but the action from the Justice Department does show us that it’s at least a very real possibility. Even if the acquisition goes through, it’s entirely possible that there will be legal struggles later should Google use the power of ITA to do anything that interferes with competing companies.