Diller calls Google travel deal ‘disturbing’
Wednesday 14, July 2010
Barry Diller, chairman of online travel company Expedia and InterActiveCorp, has reportedly described the USD 700 million Google-ITA deal as “a frontal assault on a core area of Internet life” and also stated that Google was “using its market power” to gain an unfair advantage.
According to a report filed by ft.com, Diller said regulators should deal with the ITA problem “either by conditions or denial”.
“I think it is disturbing that Google is moving into serving individual spaces, rather than being search neutral,” Diller reportedly said. “It is a dangerous step because it is inevitably going to cause problems with customers and regulatory authorities.”
At the time of the signing of the deal, Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, stated that ITA’s technology opens new possibilities for the company to “create new ways for users to more easily find flight information online”. The deal will allow Google to pursue the creation of new flight search tools that will enable users to find better flight information more easily on the Internet.
According to an analysis by Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, airlines may be global businesses in many ways, as well as exhibiting cutting edge technology in areas like mobile phone check-in at airports and offering user-friendly websites for buying air tickets (along with a host of other “ancillary” items like hotels and car rental). But, when it comes to making use of the enormously rich data that they receive from the world’s top 10% slice of spenders, the airlines are positively living in a Neolithic ecology. They are simply unable to extract and match the fabulously valuable information about passengers that they receive by the millions of items every day. The airlines’ shortcomings are largely the result of investing in “silo” type systems designed to run the various key functions that they need for their own purposes. Until recent years they have taken for granted just how valuable personal information has become – especially of the more privileged portion of the world’s citizens who can afford to travel.
According to CAPA, using a system that is actually established with data mining as a key priority, and melded with their existing massive databases, “Google and friends will be able to milk the airlines’ passengers (in the nicest possible ways) for a whole lot more than a few billion dollars. If they are not able to swamp that US$70 billion figure in a very short time, they will undoubtedly be disappointed. They won’t be doing anything as pedestrian as charging to carry bags, they’ll be selling them the bags – along with the rest of their household needs.”
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