Google’s purchase of ITA, which is one of the biggest online travel companies is under the scrutiny of the government. But the decision as to which of the agency whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice will dig into the issue is still under the covers.
The ITA software technology is widely used as a leading flight information application to find airlines, flight availability and airlines schedules. Google has made a much profitable buyout by buying the ITA software for about $700m. But the buyout is in holding pattern until it is reviewed either by the Federal Trade Commission or maybe the Department of Justice. It is to be known that Microsoft Bing which is a major competitor of Google and other online travel web sites like Hotwire, Orbitz and Kayak are the major customers of ITA. Keeping this in mind, there has to be a closer look into the matter before the buyout gets a green signal.
Many players in the online travel space have shown concern over the Google-ITA deal. While many of them are of the view that Google has always had an upper hand as a search engine and when you couple it with ITA, it raises a concern for many. Google being a major search engine and ITA being a big player in the online travel industry, they together get a huge leverage over the data as well as the prices of the travel industry.
According to the statements from Google, nothing will change for those associated with ITA. Google is not into ‘selling tickets’. It only plans to offer a better flight search and comparison tool for the consumers. Google strongly stated during the acquisition announcement of ITA that it will honor all the agreements of ITA that exist presently and also work towards adding new partners. But acquisitions always come with a huge risk factor for customers. Although Google claims to offer a better flight search tool with ITA, but Google aims at creating better travel products.
If Google gets a breakthrough in creating a better and easy search option for the travel arena, it will probably look forward for newer partners rather than serving the existing ones. Google has done this previously with other buyouts too. For instance, Google bought JotSpot and when it shuttered its services, the customers were left hanging in the middle. Another recent example was when Google discontinued its support for Flix.
So, just wait and watch to see whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice digs in to get something fishy in the deal of Google and ITA.