15 Responses

  1. aadvantagegeek
    aadvantagegeek at |

    Hmmm, very interesting…

  2. Steve
    Steve at |

    I dunno, I think part of the reason that there is so little competition in this space is that the data is so “dirty”; getting their hands dirty doesn’t seem like it fits the Apple, smooth white shell way of life. But if they could abstract the dirty-ness away from the consumer and wrap it in that white shell… I have to admit, that would be something!

  3. Acker
    Acker at |

    You are one smart dude.

  4. RJ Brown
    RJ Brown at |

    As an investor and a consumer I like the idea of this………..

  5. Marshall Jackson
    Marshall Jackson at |

    Interesting analysis. If distribution channels like American’s Direct Connect take off and spread, would that negatively impact the value of any potential deal here? I don’t know, and am probably not thinking it through… just curious.

  6. Chase
    Chase at |

    Having worked for a few GDS’ myself, I’m just going to say that buying one would be a very bad, and costly move. Google was very, VERY smart to buy ITA as that company had a 21st century workforce with the necessary up-to-date 21st century technology.

    The three major GDS’ operate under a very different and old mindset (aging employee base is one factor), let alone the outdated technology. The GDS’ are not nimble, young technology companies like Apple and Google, but rather dinosaurs that dominate the landscape. And not due to innovation (GDS’ are notorious for the lack of it), but because the cost/barriers to entry for a new startup in the space are so high. ITA has been the most successful to gain traction to date, but as you noted above, they do not come close to the sheer global power the 3 GDS’ have and monopolize.

    I could see the benefits, but Apple needs to stay far away from these companies, or it will see quite a culture clash come its way.

  7. TJ
    TJ at |

    Interesting idea! But Apple has too many other things going on and hasn’t been very successful as a software company thus far.

  8. Charlie
    Charlie at |

    @Chase, if ITA (Google) is such a “young” successful, traction-gaining company (your superlatives), why did it just shut down it’s 8 year, 700 person attempt at a PSS to rival Sabre? They failed. And scrapped hundreds of millions of dollars of software development. Decades of man years. They couldn’t rebuild what Sabre has (sorry Air Canada).

    Apple isn’t dumb enough to make that mistake. If they are serious about making the wireframes Seth posted (and who knows if they are) buying a Sabre is the ONLY option. Building is a fools errand and anyone in travel tech should know that. You damage your own “GDS credentials” by suggesting otherwise. Plus, with APPL’s cash, a bet on a sub-billion $ deal like Sabre is an easy one.

    Additionally, Sabre Airline Solutions is killing it of late- winning big name airline deals away from Amadeus. If Sabre could only shed the profit-sucking Travelocity monkey off their backs they would be a blue chip enterprise software platform for the aviation industry A-listers.

    Oh, and you don’t think TPG and Silver Lake want to unload this thing to Bain Capital and a brand name acquirer after 5+ years of downsizing pain? Private Equity- look it up. Not the most patient capital. The alternative is a Sabre IPO- who wants in? Exactly…

  9. jbcarioca
    jbcarioca at |

    Charlie has the correct analysis in my opinion. Sabre was the major innovator when it began back in the mists of the late 1970’s. Were Apple to buy it they just might make it an innovator again. Chase is 100% correct on culture clash, though, so this will not be easy to pull off. The payoff might be large if Apple can find a way to reduce air carrier costs, optimize consumer and corporate experiences while still turning a profit.

    Very improbable to do it on their own. However, they could make some sweet deals with rapidly growing carriers (EK?, DY?) to act as GSA. That would not be the GSA’s of old, but could be interesting too.

    Personal history with Sabre and a GSA give me a skeptical bias, like Chase, but deep pockets and determination can go a major part of the distance to make the improbable actually happen.

    Kudos for posting this, Seth. This post is the best of all your posts for me.

  10. Chase
    Chase at |

    @Charlie,

    GDS and PSS are two completely different business divisions, do not mix the two. If Sabre is making a ‘killing’ as of late (and again you’re talking about PSS, not GDS), why has Sabre never been able to obtain a single tier-1 airline for its Sabresonic product? Google is your friend if you don’t know what a tier-1 airline is. AA is the only tier-1 client it has and they are still on native, TPF Sabre, not it’s latest product (Sabresonic).

    So before you attack me, you need to research the facts.

  11. Charlie
    Charlie at |

    @Chase Didn’t meant that as an attack. You have more knowledge on this stuff. Really just want to see those schematics come to life and I don’t see another way forward (in my lifetime)

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    […] At the same time, however, it is somewhat new in a few ways. It mixes the driving and plane options in a single view rather than requiring a user to switch “tabs” in the map interface. It also appears to have the ability to push through to the Google Flights interface for more detailed searches and, eventually, pushing you off to a point of purchase with the specific details already selected. That’s a step up from the connectivity that is available today, though not a full integration (like Apple might be pursuing). […]

  13. Kevin May
    Kevin May at |

    Google bought a company that couldn’t scale immediately (ITA Software) – took 18 months before it could launch internationally.

  14. gpaya
    gpaya at |
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