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Google and Justice Department near deal to allow ITA Software purchase

April 7, 2011 |  2:18 pm

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Google Inc. and the U.S. Justice Department are reportedly negotiating a settlement that would prevent the federal agency from filing an antitrust lawsuit to block Google's $700-million purchase of ITA Software.

The settlement has been reported by Politico, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, among others, each citing unnamed sources.

"My understanding is that we're looking at days as opposed to weeks," an anonymous source "close to the deal" told Reuters.

The alleged settlement proposal would open Google up to federal "antitrust monitoring," something that hasn't taken place before with the Mountain View, Calif., tech leader, the Journal said.

Politico reported that the deal would mandate that Google allow ITA's software, which is used by airlines for online flight and ticket operations, to be licenced by rival search engines and online travel websites and not just integrated into Google's products.

Officials at Google and the Justice Department were not available for comment on the reports Thursday afternoon.

Google recently agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the other U.S. agency that handles antitrust matters, to put in place an upgraded privacy policy and submit to 20 years of independent audits in relation to charges that the tech giant deceived and violated promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Buzz, last year.

The terms of the settlement with the FTC were some of the harshest handed down by federal regulators in a privacy case, and the agreement also marked the first time the agency forced a company to enact such a far-reaching privacy policy to safeguard user data.

The FTC is also reportedly watching the Justice Department's actions with Google regarding the proposed ITA purchase with an eye toward launching a possible antitrust probe of its own.

RELATED:

Google to buy ITA travel software firm for $700 million

FTC may launch antitrust probe into Google's search engine dominance

Google to toughen privacy policy, undergo regular audits, in FTC settlement

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

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