By Gautham Nagesh - 12/01/10 10:13 PM EST
Kohl noted ITA currently services many of the top online travel agents, and those companies consider the firm's technology crucial to staying competitive. While Google has promised to honor all existing software licensing agreements between ITA and other vendors, Kohl suggested Justice obtain a consent decree to make the pledge enforceable.
Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich said the search giant hopes to drive more traffic to competing sites, not cut off their access to ITA's products.
"The Department of Justice has been reviewing this merger since July, and we're continuing to cooperate with its review," Kovacevich said. "We're eager to combine with ITA and begin providing fare and flight information to users searching on Google for queries like 'flights from Milwaukee to Dallas', rather than just 'ten blue links.' "
Competitors have also expressed concern that Google's dominance of the search market would enable it to steer traffic towards its own travel services or those of the highest bidder.
"And in doing so, they fear Google could degrade the functionality of its air travel search competitors, ultimately setting itself up as the gatekeeper to online air travel commerce." Kohl said.
"Should the Justice Department find this argument compelling and harm to consumers likely, it should seriously consider conditioning any approval to this deal by prohibiting Google from selling search positioning or otherwise biasing its air travel search results in a commercially motivated way."