August 27th, 2010 | Published in Google Public Policy
Last month we announced our plans to acquire ITA Software. Today, after meeting with many companies in the industry, we're even more excited about building new tools that will make it easier for consumers to search for flights, compare flight options, and get you quickly to a site where you can buy a ticket.
We’ve been encouraged by the travel industry support we’ve seen for this acquisition -- from airlines to online travel agencies. Even longtime travel guru Arthur Frommer said that "the existence of so many competing airfare search engines convinces me that the field will remain competitive even after Google enters it.”
While we think this acquisition will benefit travelers as well as those seeking their business, we know that closer scrutiny has been one consequence of Google's success, and we said that we wouldn’t be surprised if there were a regulatory review before the deal closes. This week we received what's called a "second request," which means that the U.S. Department of Justice is asking for more information so that they can continue to review the deal.
While this means we won't be closing the deal right away, we're confident that the DOJ will conclude that online travel will remain competitive after this acquisition closes. In fact, over the past few weeks online travel companies have noted that they have alternatives to ITA’s product: Kayak's CEO called Expedia’s Best Fare Search alternative "awesome"; Orbitz said that "Worldspan's e-Pricing search technology is a good solution that Travelport is devoting resources to develop. So we have alternatives available to us”; and Continental Airlines noted that "there are alternatives to the [ITA] shopping solution in the marketplace, both internally and externally.”
While we of course hope to continue working with ITA’s current customers, these comments demonstrate that competition will remain alive and well. We’ll be working cooperatively with the Department of Justice as they continue their review.