The genie goes back in the bottle

They set out to change the world, these New Age tech guys like Alex Zoghlin, and projects like Zoghlin’s G2 SwitchWorks were once the new cartoon_bottle_copy_d3fj.jpgtech that would kill off the old tech of the GDSs, the Global Distribution Systems. G2 and its few counterparts were quickly dubbed ‘Genies’ – or GNEs, for GDS New Entrants. Airlines had chafed under the power of the old-line GDSs – Amadeus, Galileo and Sabre – to control their distribution to travel agents and corporate travel departments and to charge the carriers at every step of the game; they quickly claimed that they had uncapped the genie that would tame the GDSs. The new entrants’ web-based technology would show that GNE_signing01.jpgthe main-framers and their vacuum-tube approach were obsolescent. G2 and ITA Software offered easier, and cheaper, to use web-based technology for travel agents and corporate travel departments to access, reserve, book, and pay for airline seats and products. The high point came when big groups such as the Star Alliance chose G2 (see picture of Zoghlin at the signing) as well as ITA to use them as an ‘alternative distribution platform.’
It didn’t quite work out that way. While the genie was leaping from the bottle, the GDSs were learning, like the dinosaurs of the proverb, to dance and indeed to dance all over the new guys. Boosted by private investor capital that put Sabre and Galileo into private hands while Amadeus charged ahead, the ‘old-fashioned’ guys redid their technology, their business models and their pricing.
The Genies went back into the bottle. And now the most outspoken GNE, Zoghlin’s G2 SwitchWorks, is essentially out of the game. It agreed to sell european_kestrel.jpgits basic intellectual property and software to Travelport, the big technology group which had already taken over another reformed revolutionary, on-line travel portal Orbitz, and which owns Galileo and an also-ran GDS, Worldspan. Travelport says it will use the G2 technology to develop a new simple to-use desktop product for travel agents. It would not reveal any details of the transaction such as financial terms.
Called Kestrel, this new PC-type tool will replace aging solutions from Galileo, dubbed ‘FocalPoint/Viewpoint,’ and from Worldspan, called ‘Go!’ The new point-and-click technology will be released next year, Travelport said in statement. From changing the world to a travel-agent’s desktop – how the hopeful have fallen!

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