Travel Firms Band Together Against Google-ITA Deal


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Google's $700 million acquisition of ITA Software has just hit another obstacle.  Several high-profile travel companies have banded together to form "the coalition" and ask the U.S. Department of Justice to challenge the deal.

The FairSearch group argued in a statement, "Acquiring ITA Software would give Google control over the software that powers most of its closest rivals in travel search and could enable Google to manipulate and dominate the online air travel marketplace.  The end result could be higher travel prices, fewer travel choices for consumers and businesses, and less innovation in online travel search."

That's an attention-grabbing argument.  What's more, the FairSearch coalition is trying to stir up public support with Facebook and Twitter pages.

Plus, group members include Expedia (which owns Expedia, Hotwire, and TripAdvisor), Farelogix, Kayak (Kayak, SideStep), and Sabre Holdings (Travelocity), making the FairSearch coalition a rather authoritative assembly where travel is concerned.

As a result, this could become a real problem for Google, which has already faced lots of challenges in relation to its proposed ITA deal.

We'll be sure to follow this dispute and report any significant updates or new developments.

UPDATE: Sure enough, Andrew Silverman, a senior product manager, responded on the Google Public Policy Blog.  Silverman addressed several objections to the Google-ITA deal on a point-by-point basis, and also wrote, "Our reason for making this acquisition is simple: ITA will help us provide better results for our users."