Google tries to acquire travel company, but not without controversy Google is a company run by engineers. Its approach to mergers and acquisitions is fitting given its origins: The company prefers to gain a foothold in industries it thinks are run inefficiently by buying companies that already have a market share in that field. Recently, and not without controversy, Google moved to buy ITA Software, a company that makes it easier for customers to compare airfares.

The move would position Google as an industry player in online travel deals, something that other companies are increasingly concerned about. Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia, tells the New York Times that Google likes to "enter markets where it thinks the existing approaches are broken, and try to do a much better job." If approved, Google would utilize ITA to become the premier provider of flight data to airlines, travel agents, global distribution systems and technology companies.

According to Wu, in the short-term, the deal would give consumers a better travel search experience as it is integrated into the company's search platform, but in the long-term, it could stifle competition, giving Google such "an advantage that travel search becomes like other forms of search, dominated by one engine." Those currently in the industry are split on the move: While Orbitz and Priceline support Google, others, including Microsoft-owned Kayak and Expedia, have come out against the deal.

While it awaits approval, Google says that the deal will give consumers a more-streamlined search engine for airfare deals, eliminating red tape and increasing efficiency. If approved, however, Wu contends that Google will most likely have to work through conditions imposed by the Justice Department. Either way, it is a move that could shake up the way travelers buy airline tickets, even if they are unaware of it.
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