Press for ITA Software

If Google buys ITA Software and cuts off ITA’s contracts with travel metasearch and airline websites, will Expedia try to fill the void?  Kayak co-founder and CEO Steve Hafner says the metasearch company has been evaluating Expedia’s Best Fare Search air search and pricing engine “and we like it. Plus, it seems to be cheaper than ITA’s QPX.”

In the early 1990s, Jeremy Wertheimer started thinking about how smarter software could change the travel industry.  This was before the emergence of the Web, but Wertheimer, a doctoral student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s artificial intelligence lab, was already convinced that travel agents needed a more flexible way to search for airfares than the mainframe-based systems they were using, which dated back to the 1960s.

A low-profile software company in Cambridge may be worth $1 billion to Internet search giant Google Inc.  ITA Software Inc. makes sophisticated software for major online travel services such as Orbitz.com and Kayak.com and airlines such as Continental Airlines Inc. and Air Canada. They depend on ITA software, which allows them to organize complex airfare information for online shoppers.

Google is in talks to acquire ITA Software, an airline I.T. and services provider, in a deal that could end up costing the search giant $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. ITA Software, based in Cambridge, Mass., may seek about $1 billion, Bloomberg said, but added that the talks may not lead to a transaction.