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Harteveldt: Concerns About Google-ITA Are 'Legitimate'

Yesterday afternoon, Kojo Nnamdi, host on DC’s WAMU-FM,  conducted a panel discussion with Forrester analyst, Henry Harteveldt, and Crankyflier blogger, Brett Snyder. Robert Birge, Chief Marketing Office for KAYAK, called into the show to comment on the Google/ITA deal. He questioned Google’s claims that the takeover would not limit competition:

“The concern about this acquisition is that it will harm competition in a number of ways. Specifically, this would put Google in a very powerful position over the industry, both in terms of the ability to degrade the quality of our products and other competitors like ours, as well as use their monopoly in general search to steer traffic to their product. By way of that, taking a dominant position in the industry.”

In response, Nnamdi asked his guests about the possible impacts this deal could have on innovation in the travel industry, and Harteveldt expressed concern:

“KAYAK has had a long relationship (as have many others) with ITA software, and the concern that companies like KAYAK have is a legitimate one. They are working with ITA and they want to be assured that they will continue to have access to ITA’s products on commercially acceptable terms, and frankly Google won’t snoop on anything competitors are doing or use their data in an inappropriate way. Competition is good when it’s fair. It’s not good when it’s biased or when it’s restrictive. Now, there are competitors to ITA out there, but the problem is they’re small or start-ups or they don’t have the penetration that ITA does.”