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Consumer Reports: Google Travel Deal Threatens Competitors — and Consumers

Over the weekend, in a Consumers Reports blog post on Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software, contributing editor Bill McGee wrote “Google travel deal threatens competitors—and consumers.”  He wrote that Consumer Reports, which is published by independent non-profit Consumers Union, is “concerned that the Google-ITA acquisition has the potential to limit consumer choice in the already complex marketplace of online travel, particularly after such a deal were to be finalized” McGee is a is a travel columnist for USAToday.com and former editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter.

What’s more, travel author and consumer advocate Edward Hasbrouck has written extensively on his blog The Practical Nomad about the “potentially serious negative implications” of Google’s acquisition of ITA.  Shortly after the deal was announced, he wrote on July 14, 2010, “Google’s purchase of ITA Software is likely to be a bad thing for travellers.”

It’s also worth noting that companies that license ITA software – such as KAYAK, Hotwire and TripAdvisor – are in fact customers, which is why their concerns about the negative impacts of the deal are of particular interest to regulators at the Justice Department.