January 19, 2011 by USA Post
Bing Travel, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) about to face the U.S. Department of Justice on its proposed acquisition of travel software developer for ITA Software and 700 million euros, know that the fight can be high stakes, but the loser in this battle royal could be you.
You probably do not know about the ITA, but you’ve already seen his work – Kayak, Orbitz and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) ‘s Bing are three players who rely on the ITA, which is widely regarded as having the best set of industry tools collection for air transport and flight data. Microsoft and Expedia, Kayak, and a few other heavyweights of recent trip together to form FairSearch.org to lobby against the acquisition by Google.
But frankly, no one has seen serious U.S. Department of Justice opposition until late last week when both the Washington Post and Bloomberg has published articles suggesting that the acquisition is “a problem” that the DoJ could “field “the case.
And that has left many observers puzzled. “I am very surprised to hear of the opposition DoJ,” said Jeffrey Breen, president of airline consulting aviation Cambridge Research.
Historically, it is rare for the DOJ to seek to block an acquisition where two companies are in different firms, and Google does not fingerprint data plane ticket.
And there are other reasons for opposition DoJ is confusing.
Google notes Robert Cole, founder of consulting firm Technology Travel RockCheetah, has insisted he has no interest – zero – using databases ITA air routes and fares to put in the booking business travel. “I take them at their word on that,” Cole said. Online Booking Travel at Expedia’s, hard work, and Google has never shown any appetite for the opening of these businesses.
Google also says he has no interest in taking data ITA private. Indeed, that seems to do is use the results of ITA in the power of research more transparent airfares – and it could be a blessing to us all.
Reality: The current systems of online booking of tickets are extremely inefficient, Cole argues. “The typical leisure traveler searches 22 sites across 10 sessions when planning a trip.”
Google’s entry could produce easier, faster reservations. Therefore, seeks to block the acquisition ITA seems contrary to the interests of passengers.
Worse yet, the current system shows signs of disintegration. The big airlines are beginning to tackle major online travel agencies. The main fight well against Orbitz, American Airlines and Sabre. U.S. has withdrawn its flight data from Orbitz, Expedia and pulled U.S. data as a gesture of solidarity. Sabre, a provider of data used primarily for Travel Travel agents in turn said he downgrade U.S. data, making these flights are less visible. American responded with a lawsuit.
What America wants? He insists that the compensation paid to third parties, but this fight pushes the system closer to current blowup.
Bottom line: To call the current system is broken to be nice. Airlines despise, consumers find it awkward, and almost nobody thinks that he cannot do better. Why DoJ would apparently want to preserve it is a surprise.
And that’s why the Google-ITA merger is in the interest of a few of us all. Google’s entry could produce a fluid flow of flight data, and already there are signs that airlines have a smile on ITA. American, for example, last week signed an agreement with ITA Software house, which produce new tools for America to manage its flight data.
Is there no way out of the Google / DoJ collision? Brooklyn Law School professor Jonathan Askin believes it is “Extracting a few commitments to public service by Google for the approval of the acquisition ITA Software is probably a sufficient alternative to outright blocking of the merger “.
The DoJ could extract guarantees of continued access to data ITA travel agencies like Expedia online. Experts say that should be readily available to commit to Google, because these companies pay for ITA and its data are the primary source of liquidity to the ITA.
What’s not to love about that?
The sky might be a bit friendly – and much easier to navigate – with Google gives us all doses of ITA data for trip planning.
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