27-Oct-2010 8:20 AM

Coalition urges US to block Google takeover of ITA Software

Expedia Inc, and its brands Expedia.com, Hotwire and TripAdvisor-Farelogix Inc, KAYAK and its brand SideStep and Sabre Holdings and its brand Travelocity have formed (26-Oct-2010) the FairSearch.org coalition to support competition, transparency and innovation in online searches. The coalition is urging the US Justice Department to challenge Google’s proposed USD700 million acquisition of ITA Software, the flight search technology that powers many of the web’s most popular travel sites including KAYAK and Hotwire. According to the coalition, the acquisition of 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." According to FairSearch.org, ITA provides the technology behind 65% of all carrier-direct online flight searches in the US and its flight search software powers six of the top 10 air carriers in the US, with ITA's US customers including American Airlines, Continental Airlines,Hotwire, KAYAK, Orbitz, Southwest Airlines, TripAdvisor, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic.[more]

KAYAK:ITA’s technology has made it the software provider of choice for many online players throughout the travel industry, including a number of Google’s competitors in air travel search. We founded KAYAK to give travel consumers access to more choices and lower prices, but this deal could result in just the opposite,” Steve Hafner, CEO. Source: FairSearch.org, 26-Oct-2010.

Expedia: “Combining Google and ITA – the dominant providers of web search and flight search technology, respectively – raises some serious concerns for travellers and the online travel industry as a whole. We support this coalition because we believe consumers deserve transparency, and that they – not search engines – should choose winners and losers in online travel,” Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO. Source: FairSearch.org, 26-Oct-2010.

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