Today comes news that Senator Kohl has sent a letter to the DOJ urging “careful review” of the proposed Google/ITA merger. Underlying his concerns (or rather the “concerns raised by a number of industry participants and consumer advocates that I believe warrant careful review”) is this:
Many of ITA’s customers believe that access to ITA’s technology is critical to competition in online air travel search because it cannot be matched by other players in the travel search industry. They claim that ITA’s superior access to information and superior technology enables it to provide faster and better results to consumers. As a result, some of these industry participants and independent experts fear that the current high level of competition among online travel agents and metasearch providers could be undermined if Google were to acquire ITA and start its own OTA or metasearch service. If this were to happen, they argue, consumers would lose the benefits of a robustly competitive online air travel market.
For several reasons, these complaints are without merit and a challenge to the Google/ITA merger would be premature at best—and a costly mistake at worst. Continue reading →