Travel firms launch campaign opposing Google-ITA deal
ITA's competitors in the online travel sector aren't going to make it easy for Google to acquire their rival.
A new coalition, organized under the name FairSearch.org, has formed to lobby the Department of Justice to challenge Google's $700 million acquisition bid for ITA, arguing that it will undermine competition in the market.
Members of the new coalition include Expedia, Kayak and Travelocity parent Sabre Holdings.
Those companies are arguing that ITA's software powers 65 percent of all online searches that directly query the airline, and that pairing that market position with Google's dominant share of the Web search market would unduly consolidate the online airfare market in the hands of one player.
"Combining Google and ITA -- the dominant providers of Web search and flight search technology, respectively -- raises some serious concerns for travelers and the online travel industry as a whole," Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "We support this coalition because we believe consumers deserve transparency, and that they -- not search engines -- should choose winners and losers in online travel."