Google Empire to Invade Online Travel Market

Google Inc. is invading the travel business as it has acquired ITA Software Inc., a Boston-based company, delivering flight information to various web sites, for $700 million in cash. Since ITA

Software is the biggest travel search company, some say that Google, being the biggest search engine on the web, might be struck by antitrust lawsuits. However, Google’ CEO, Eric Schmidt is sure the deal should not raise any antitrust concerns, as his company does not currently compete against ITA or any other travel search company, since Google is not and will never be ‘a travel agency’.

Founded back in 1996, ITA is the brainchild of MIT graduates who came up with a brilliant idea of how to use technology to enhance the way people booked flights online, searching for better prices. The ITA’s customizable flight data organization tool is used by leading airlines and travel distributors worldwide including, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Bing, Continental Airlines, Kayak, Orbitz, Hotwire, etc. Now all these companies will face a more difficult competitive position, since it’s not clear yet whether Google is going to continue to provide ITA’s services to them. According to Google, the acquisition of ITA, which processes the data such as flight times, tickets availability and prices, will enable it to create a more powerful online search tool to help people find such information quicker and more easily. With ITA’s technology, Google will enable customers to comparison shop for flights and airfares, which will attract more potential customers to the $80 billion online travel market. “Google has already come up with new ways to organize hard-to-find information like images, newspaper archives, scholarly papers, books, and geographic data. Once we’ve completed our acquisition of ITA, we’ll work on creating new flight search tools that will make it easier for you to search for flights, compare flight options and prices, and get you quickly to a site where you can buy your ticket,” said Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer in a blog post accompanying the announcement. The deal will help Google compete with rival Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which also uses ITA’s technology to provide air travel information. Chief executive and president of ITA Software Inc., Jeremy Wertheimer said, “It is a privilege to work with a most skilled and dedicated team to build innovative technologies that people use every day”.

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