Google will buy ITA Software for $700 million, the company just announced.
ITA, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, makes a huge flight search engine that is used by companies like Kayak, Orbitz and Microsoft.
“ITA’s very talented team has created an impressive product to organise flight information,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement.
“Their technology opens exciting possibilities for us to create new ways for users to more easily find flight information online, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Google.”
When Kayak started out it merely screen scraped airline sites. ITA made it so they could get it without scraping.. i don’t know if there are alternatives but in theory this could be a way to kneecap kayak. interestingly, general catalyst and sequoa are investors in both ITA & Kayak.
Google VP Marissa Mayer explained the deal in a blog post:
“Today, almost half of all airline tickets are sold online. But for many people, finding the right flight at the best price is a frustrating experience; pricing and availability change constantly, and even a simple two city itinerary involves literally thousands of different options. We’d like to make that search much easier.”
This feels like a smart acquisition that brings in a company precisely in Google’s wheelhouse: search.
Here is Google’s full blog post announcing the buy:
Taking off with ITA
7/01/2010 01:05:00 PMToday, almost half of all airline tickets are sold online. But for many people, finding the right flight at the best price is a frustrating experience; pricing and availability change constantly, and even a simple two city itinerary involves literally thousands of different options. We’d like to make that search much easier, which is why I’m pleased to announce that today we have signed an agreement to acquire ITA, a Boston-based software company specializing in organising airline data, including flight times, availability and prices.
While online flight search is rapidly evolving, we think there is room for more competition and greater innovation. Google has already come up with new ways to organise hard-to-find information like images, newspaper archives, scholarly papers, books and geographic data. Once we’ve completed our acquisition of ITA, we’ll work on creating new flight search tools that will make it easier for you to search for flights, compare flight options and prices and get you quickly to a site where you can buy your ticket.
We’re confident that by combining ITA’s expertise as the leading developer of flight information software with Google’s technology we’ll be able to create great user innovations in flight search. ITA has built a very successful QPX business, and we’re looking forward to working with their current and future customers. Google will honour all existing agreements, and we’re also enthusiastic about adding new partners. You can read more about this deal here, and we’ll keep everybody up to date as we work to close this exciting acquisition.