The former Federal Trade Commissioner who recently wrote a Huffington Post piece raising concerns about the proposed Google-ITA Software deal has ties to Microsoft, which is an ardent opponent of the acquisition.
Pamela Jones Harbour, a partner in Fulbright & Jaworski and a commissioner at the FTC from 2003 to April 2010, responded to a Tnooz inquiry, saying she has done consulting work for Microsoft.
"I joined Fulbright in May 2010, and it is my law firm's policy not to disclose clients," Jones Harbour said. "However, I've checked with Microsoft and clarified that I can confirm that I've consulted for them on matters unrelated to the ITA deal."
In Jones Harbour's Huffington Post article, which ran Jan. 7, there was no disclosure about her legal work for Microsoft, which some may view as a potential conflict of interest.
Jones Harbour states that her views about the Google-ITA Software deal are her own and consistent with her 2007 dissent to Google's acquisition of DoubleClick [pdf].
"My thinking on the Google\ITA deal is my own and a continuation of the concern I expressed about Google’s dominance online in my 2007 dissent to the FTC’s approval of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick," Jones Harbor told Tnooz. "It is my personal belief that allowing Google to acquire ITA would harm not just consumers and innovation in online travel and technology, but the growth of the Internet more generally by reinforcing Google’s dominance in search and search advertising."
FairSearch.org, which has spearheaded opposition to Google's pending acquisition of ITA Software, promoted Jones Harbour's Huffington Post opinion piece by circulating it to journalists and writing about it in the FairSearch.org blog.
Microsoft, which operates the Bing search engine and Bing Travel, is a key member of FairSearch.org.
Other members include TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Kayak, Hotwire, Expedia, SideStep, Sabre, Farelogix, zuji, Level.com and Foundem.
The Huffington Post didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about Jones Harbour's consulting work for Microsoft.