The approval for Google’s acquisition of ITA Software for $700 million is still pending from the U.S. Justice Department, as it is considering whether the deal will give Google undue influence over the entire online flight industry.
Last July, Google proposed to buy ITA Software, a flight information service provider. However, issues raised by online travel companies regarding the possibility of Google’s monopolistic control over online travel, have placed the deal in limbo.
ITA Software helps airlines, travelers and travel distributors provide organized flight information including fare comparison and flight schedules. ITA’s clientele includes major U.S. airlines such as American and United Airlines, as well as international carriers such as Virgin Atlantic.
While a few online travel search sites such as Kayak and Expedia opposed the deal, saying it would prevent them from competing, Google says it has no plans to do business by selling tickets. Instead, it only wants to provide users a more user-friendly search. Additionally, Google says the merger will drive potential customers to airline and online travel agency websites.
“It’s important to note that our goal will be to refer people quickly to a site where they can actually purchase flights,” Google asserted.
According to Forrester Research, the U.S. market for online travel bookings is about $80 billion annually, and Google’s foray into the industry is seen as another venture into expanding markets.
“Searches for travel-related information are among the highest-volume queries we receive at Google,” it said.
Google has put up a video showing benefits of flight search after Google-ITA merger. An organization called fairsearch.org has produced one showing why it should be blocked.
The Google video is here:
And the fairsearch.org video is here: