Software Developers Worried About Google’s ITA Acquisition
Independent software developers told U.S. lawmakers they may be unable to get fair access to flight-information provider ITA Software Inc.’s travel-search feature after Google Inc. (GOOG) buys the company.
“The concern is about access to the engine and who gets the best quality result,” said Morgan Reed, executive director for the Association for Competitive Technology, a Washington-based group for 3,000 developers whose sponsors include Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), eBay Inc. and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) Reed testified today at a House Judiciary Committee panel hearing.
Google, owner of the world’s most-popular search engine, is getting extended scrutiny by the Justice Department of its proposed $700 million acquisition of ITA. The agency sent a second request last month for information on the deal announced July 1, according to a posting on Google’s public-policy blog.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, needs to own ITA rather than license its travel-search services to gain the “kind of deep integration that is needed to produce really, really good search results for end-users,” Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said on a July 1 conference call.
The comment “set off alarm bells” for companies such as Kayak.com, which searches more than 400 travel sites to offer competitive deals, Reed said today. ITA “isn’t a stand-alone product, it’s a search engine.”
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