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DOJ OKs Google's Purchase Of Cambridge Software Firm

The U.S. Justice Department is allowing Google to proceed with its planned $700 million purchase of Cambridge-based ITA Software, with some strings attached.

ITA is behind popular airfare search engines like Orbitz and Kayak. Google is planning to create its own airfare search site that it says would make it easier for people to find flights and fares they want.

That project would happen in the Boston area, according to Google spokesman Rob Shilkin. He says ITA Software has more than 500 Massachusetts employees and is hiring more.

“They’re going to be staying exactly where they are, working on ITA’s products,” Shilkin said. “And we’re really excited to have a much larger presence in Boston.”

But some other New England companies are not as happy about Google’s local acquisition.

ITA customers such as TripAdvisor in Newton and Connecticut-based Kayak have opposed Google’s purchase. They’re afraid that Google’s purchase will cut them off from ITA’s technology.

That’s why the Justice Department is requiring that Google continue to license ITA’s technology to other comparison sites. And the DOJ will keep an eye on the merger to make sure Google can’t profit from ITA’s knowledge of Google competitors.

This program aired on April 8, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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