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Google's ITA Acquisition Controversy

mbegin [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
9 years ago11,695 views

<< Google's proposed buyout of airline fare search company ITA for $700 million sparked plenty of controversy when it was announced earlier this year, but now opponents of the deal have made their dislike official by forming the group FairSearch.org. The backers are travel technology companies like Travelocity, Kayak, Hotwire, and Expedia, all of whom worry that Google could freeze them out of important ITA technology or could alter its search results to keep traffic away from sites that don't pay up.

ITA licenses its technology to many of the biggest players in the airline industry, including major airlines like United and Southwest. It's perhaps best known for its ticket matrix that finds and displays fare options in an easy-to-read grid.

Google would certainly love to present fare recommendations when searchers look for airline tickets, rather than simply directing them to another site. Companies like Expedia worry that the acquisition could lead Google to present a matrix of actual fares on its search results page, above all of the other sites that sell tickets. At that point, the key question becomes: which sites will Google's results link to, and what (if anything) will be the cost of those links? >>

arstechnica.com/tech-policy/ne ...

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