According to the phrase ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, Microsoft must think Kayak is the bee’s knees. The reason being is that Microsoft’s latest attempt at a search engine, Bing, has unveiled a ‘new’ travel search section that looks uncannily like the one on Kayak.
The similarities are so close in fact that Kayak has politely (via the medium of solicitor’s letter) asked Bing to cease and desist.
Many experts have commented that Bing’s ‘new’ travel search section looks just like Kayak, and even Kayak themselves feel the similarities are too close to be coincidence. Robert Birge, the chief marketing officer at Kayak, said in an interview to Wired:
We have contacted them through official channels about concerns about the similarities between Bing and Kayak. From the look and feel of their travel product, they seem to agree with our approach to the market.
Microsoft however insists that no copying has been done on their part and the similarities are just an accident. Whitney Burk, from Microsoft, comments:
We are discussing the matter with Kayak. Bing Travel is based on independent development by Microsoft and Farecast.com, which Microsoft acquired in 2008. Any contrary allegations are without merit.
The difficulty that Kayak now faces is that Microsoft is considerably bigger than Kayak and any potential legal battle could see the smaller travel company consumed in the fight.