coalition of travel sites that want to make their opposition known to Google's acquisition of ITA Software. Google announced its plans to buy ITA back in July, but the acquisition likely faces regulatory scrutiny as ITA technology powers the organization of price and schedule information for the major airlines, travel booking companies, and search engines. And the Fairsearch.org coalition argues that if Google buys ITA that competition and innovation surrounding the online travel industry will be stifled.Microsoft has joined a
Microsoft uses ITA software to help power Bing, and the fear of Microsoft and others is that by acquiring ITA Software, Google will control the software that powers most travel-related searches. The $700 million price-tag for ITA points not just to the strength of its technology and predominance in the industry, but also to Google's desire to make its search data better - more accurate, more real-time.
But Microsoft, along with the UK search engine Foundem, the French online travel agency Level...com, and the Singapore-based travel agency ZUJI, join existing Fairsearch.org members Expedia.com, Hotwire, TripAdvisor, and Kayak in urging the Justice Department to challenge the acquisition deal.
"Competition in online travel search over the last decade has not only created more choices and innovation for travelers, but has also driven prices lower around the world for consumers," says ZUJI president Roshan Mendis. "We are concerned that less competition in flight search in the U.S. will result in less innovation in travel search globally, and more importantly, less pressure on travel service providers to offer the lowest price for consumers regardless of where they are located."
For its part, Google has said it has no plans to sell airline tickets or set prices. The purchase is aimed to "provide better results for our users," says Google.