UPDATE: An ITA Software spokeswoman says the company is actively renewing contracts with customers and that an Expedia counsel's statement alleging that ITA is refusing to do so "is just pure nonsense."
Cara Kretz, the ITA Software spokeswoman, says "between now and the closing we're happily renewing contracts with our customers. We are busy at it."
Kretz declined to say which companies were renewing contracts or provide any other details, citing ITA policy not to discuss specific companies.
As noted during the CNN broadcast, Google has stated it would be committed to ensuring that QPX would be available to customers and would be ready to renew agreements, Kretz added.
Note: The CNN program erroneously stated that Orbitz is part of the opposition coalition, FairSearch.org.
The original post follows:
A proponent and opponent of Google's pending acquisition of ITA Software didn't take a holiday this week and clashed on CNN over the issue of software license renewals.
Most of the interview covered familiar ground, but Thomas Barnett, Expedia counsel and point man for FairSearch.org, the opposition coalition, challenged the notion that Google and ITA Software are committed to renewing customers' licenses to use ITA's QPX airfare shopping and pricing software if the $700 million acquisition is approved.
Barnett said he knows "companies have approached Google privately ... and Google and ITA have flat-out refused to negotiate extensions or renewals to the license.”
The issue of software license renewals is one of the key issues in the controversy, as online travel agencies and metasearch companies fear Google will control such a core product.
Barnett didn't name the companies which allegedly sought renewals.
Kayak previously has stated that it has sought assurances from Google and ITA about renewals and none were forthcoming.
Barnett seems to have gone a bit further in his statement, however, saying that "Google and ITA have flat-out refused to negotiate extensions or renewals..."
Google, of course, is not in a position yet to make any commitments about renewals since it doesn't own ITA Software.
And, perhaps ITA Software would be reluctant to strike renewal deals in the current environment given all of the uncertainty and because it may soon have a parent company making these sorts of decisions.
Another factor at play is that any future Google-ITA product hasn't been created yet.
Barnett's statement came during the Dec. 29 John King USA program on CNN in response to a question from host Jessica Yellin.
Yellin noted that Barnett had been shaking his head in response to a statement by Adam Kovacevich, Google's senior manager of global communications and public affairs, who said Google is committed to continuing to make ITA's QPX software available to travel industry customers and plans to renew and enter into new agreements.
Here's the interview on YouTube.