TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Bill Radke: Google has announced a move into the online travel space. The search giant is buying travel technology company ITA for $700 million. The deal could make Google a new destination for searching airline prices. It could also bring new scrutiny from anti-monopoly investigators. Marketplace’s Janet Babin joins us live to talk about the deal. Good morning, Janet.
Janet Babin: Good morning, Bill.
Radke: Tell us more about what ITA does.
Babin: Well, you know how when you’re looking to mix and match your way to a low price on a flight, you can search Bing Travel, or Kayak, FareCompare. Well some companies like this use software that comes from ITA to compile your results. The company also helps run several airline reservation systems. And now Google says it will use ITA’s software to “improve the way flight information is organized.”
Radke: And how does this move help Google as a business?
Babin: Well this is Google trying to stay ahead of the competition. I mean Microsoft’s Bing search engine has gotten some traction recently by focusing on travel and shopping, and analysts say this is Google’s answer to that competition.
Radke: Is it going to be like Expedia, where you actually can book your travel through Google?
Babin: Well, Google did say it has no plans to sell airline tickets, but they will probably roll out some new flight search tools. Google calls the acquisition, by the way, pro-consumer, but it is worth noting that antitrust regulators are expected to look very closely at this deal.
Radke: Marketplace’s Janet Babin. Janet, thank you.
Babin: Thank you, Bill.
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