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from the L.A. Times

Travel sites team up to block Google's proposed acquisition of airline software firm

Several online travel companies have joined forces to battle Google's proposed $700-million acquisition of flight information company ITA Software Inc., arguing the deal would raise prices and reduce competition and innovation in the online travel industry.

The group unveiled a website and a lobbying effort on Capitol Hill to get regulators to block the acquisition. Other critics of the deal include Microsoft.

Google fired back in a blog post Tuesday, saying the deal has support in the travel industry.

Even before the proposed acquisition was announced, airline ticket search and booking sites including Kayak.com and Hotwire.com lined up against it. They have argued to the Justice Department antitrust lawyers reviewing the matter that the acquisition would give Google an unfair advantage because it runs the world's most popular search engine.

But Google says it's trying to help travelers more easily search for flights with times and prices the way its competitors already do. Andrew Silverman, a senior project manager, said Google had no plans to sell airline tickets.

-- Jessica Guynn

 
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