Kayak says it will stay best buddies (of sorts) with ITA Software after all - despite being at the forefront of the lobbying group opposed to Google buying ITA in 2010.
The travel search company's contract with ITA Software was due to expire at the end of the 2013, prompting many to ponder if it would shift the entire back-end of its flight search functionality into a single provider.
Kayak was one of the founding (and most vociferous) members of the FairSearch anti-Google lobbying group created in late-2010 to head off the $700 million deal to buy ITA Software.
A Kayak official says the relationship with ITA Software will continue, adding:
" In order to insure the most accurate and comprehensive flight search results in the industry, we obtain data from multiple sources and continually optimize our global flight search technology and data requirements."
The main providers of fares, schedules and availability will be Amadeus, ITA Software and TravelFusion, as well as direct connects into airlines and content from online travel agency partners.
In June 2012, Kayak announced it had extended its deal with Amadeus as part of a "strategic global alliance", building on its already six-year old agreement for the Meta Pricer system to help power search results.
ITA's QPX system was understood to still mostly Kayak's US domestic searches, with Amadeus providing a combination of both North American and global data.
Kayak and ITA were contacted to remain as partners until 31 December 2013, a moment when Amadeus was widely expected to either take over the technology fully or Kayak would at least move away from having to use the system now owned by its arch nemesis.
To what extent Kayak will be using ITA from now on (and for how long) has not been disclosed.
Previously, (and obtained by ploughing through Kayak's various IPO documents) Kayak used ITA for around 60% of its search results. This changed within six months to ITA only powering around 39%.
It was never confirmed if Amadeus was taking up the slack, but that six-month period coincided (also noted in the S1 filing) with Kayak entering into an agreement with the Spain-based tech giant for "products and services".
Clearly Kayak will never say publicly why it decided to stick with ITA after all - but a number of factors may be in play:
The brand's continued and overwhelming dominance in the US (and no significant threat from Google Flight Search - one eventual outcome from the ITA acquisition) means it can keep its enemies closer than previously thought.
Or, alternatively, there was simply wasn't another provider that could match ITA's QPX system to help power the domestic traffic which Kayak is so reliant on (for the moment) for revenue.
For ITA, losing Kayak would have been noteworthy marginally from a revenue perspective but mostly due to it being the marquee customer in the US for so many years - and the obvious fall-out from the bitter FairSearch campaign.
On the search side of customer book, ITA still powers the likes of StudentUniverse, Fly.com, Hipmunk and some elements of Rearden.