Koster following Google antitrust probe

Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 11, 2011, 10:30am


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is offering up his help in a U.S. Justice Department investigation of Google and its plan to purchase a software company.

According to Bloomberg News, the Justice Department is trying to decide if it will approve the search engine giant's acquisition of ITA Software, Inc. The company's software provides online flight information.

However, its competitors argue Google's purchase could hurt them and consumers.

Koster, in his letter Wednesday to the head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, wrote, "This transaction causes me concern because of its potential impact on the ability of consumers to search online competitively for competitively priced airline fares."

A Google spokesman told Bloomberg on Thursday that the purchase would actually improve Internet travel searches, giving consumers more options.

Google is already under investigation by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for antitrust activity.

In September, Abbott's office announced it was looking into the company's methods for recommending websites. The investigation was spurred by complaints that Google has abused its power as the Internet's most dominant search engine.

Such allegations were levied against the company by UK-based Foundem, New York-based SourceTool and TradeComet, and Ohio-based myTriggers.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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