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Today, almost half of all airline tickets are sold online. But for many people, finding the right flight at the best price is a frustrating experience; pricing and availability change constantly, and even a simple two city itinerary involves literally thousands of different options. We’d like to make that search much easier, which is why I’m pleased to announce that today we have signed an agreement to acquire ITA, a Boston-based software company specializing in organizing airline data, including flight times, availability and prices.Official Google blog: [googleblog.blogspot.com...]
Facts about Google's acquisition of ITA Software: [google.com ]
Time to think again if you don't consider Google a potential competitor.
Google said on Thursday that it had agreed to buy privately-owned ITA Software, in a move that Google said would allow it to improve the way consumers find flight and fare information online.
"What we're going to do is build new flight search tools that focus on end-users," Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said in a conference call with analysts and members of the press on Thursday.
He said that Google had no plans to sell airline tickets to consumers and that Google planned to honor all existing agreements that ITA has with its partners.
The deal should allow Google to match innovations made by Microsoft Corp, whose recently re-launched Bing search engine has gained share by focusing on a handful of specific search categories like travel and shopping. [reuters.com...]
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 1:36 am (utc) on Jul 2, 2010]
[edit reason] added link [/edit]
The concerns are so real that Kayak offered to buy ITA to keep the company out of Google's hands, a travel industry source close to the situation said.
Kayak was being backed by Expedia Inc, which would have injected under $200 million into Kayak to make a deal happen, the source said.
But the talks went nowhere as Google was in exclusive talks with ITA
[edited by: Whitey at 11:30 am (utc) on Jul 2, 2010]
So, OTA's that simply receive a series of airline feeds and publish it are at risk , like Kayak and Orbitz...
Google took great pains in its public statements and during its conference call Thursday to say that it would honor ITA's existing agreements and that it had no plans to sell flights itself, although Schmidt wouldn't rule that out entirely either during a question-and-answer period with reporters.
“If completed, Google could pursue the creation of new flight search tools which will enable people to find comparable flight information on the Internet without using a service like ours. According to Experian Hitwise, in September 2010, approximately 30% of travel searches began with Google. Upon completion of its acquisition of ITA, this number could substantially increase, as Google may choose to offer services that directly compete with the services we offer. Google may also cause ITA not to renew any agreements with us, or to renew agreements with us on less favorable terms. If ITA or Google limit our access to the ITA software or any improvements to the software, increase the price we pay for it or refuse to renew our contract and we are unable to replace ITA with a comparable technology, we may be unable to operate our business effectively and our financial performance may suffer.” [techcrunch.com...]
And if you think Kayak's nervous , you can be sure that other aggregators of data are too. It's not just the travel industry. The similarity in other verticals seems awry.
Goodbye affiliates and directories or at the very least those good folks are going to find it much harder to stay ahead of the game.