Y’all. I don’t even know where to begin.
Have you ever had one of those weeks, or maybe even long weekends, when you genuinely disconnect from or simply don’t have as much time to pay attention to tech news?
But then, you come back from that brief reprieve, merely for things to look kind of like this 😛 TAGEND
I was going to write a full news recap for you this week. Even when limited to the tech realm, there was a lot that went on, from Snapchat’s bungled “surprise” partnership with Jeff Koons, to product proclamations from Sonos, to even more battles from major tech companies– like Google, Facebook, and Twitter — to curb the distribution and strengthening of false content.
But as I reviewed all of the week’s developments, there was one main news item that really caught my eye, besides Google’s major product event on Wednesday( which I encompassed here ): what’s going on with Uber.
Because this item is rather complex and in-depth, I’ve chosen to focus exclusively on Uber this week. It’s intricate, has evolved speedily, and is a lot for anyone to sort through.
That’s why I’ve synthesized what’s happening here, in what I hope is a cohesive, easy-to-digest manner, to help you catch up on things.
With that said: on your mark — get set — drive.
Spoiler Alert: This Kind of Has a Happy Ending
Over in London
Like most weeks, it seems, this was not a good one for Uber. There’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of events since Transport for London revoked its license to operate in that U.K. city, including the departure of Uber’s chief of northern Europe affairs, Jo Bertram.
Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has spent much of his recent time in London to meet with Mike Brown , commissioner of Transport for London. While both parties suggested that these discussions have been mutually beneficial , no formal decision has been built — nor will it be, it seems, until October 13, when a judge is due to issue a decision on the ride-sharing company’s appeal.
Until that process has reached a conclusion, Uber can continue operating in London, where it has approximately 40,000 drivers.
But as interesting a development as that might be, things were even more amplified for Uber in two other categories: its ongoing legal woes with Alphabet, and continuous drama over its board.
The Alphabet Lawsuit
To recap: When we last left off, Alphabet had obtained a significant document called the Stroz Report: a due diligence report named for the firm that prepared it, Stroz Friedberg, ordered by Uber when controversial self-driving technology technologist Anthony Levandowski would be joining its team. Levandowski accuses of stealing trade secret from Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle division, and no longer works for Uber. He has firmly exercised his fifth amendment rights throughout these proceedings.
Earlier this week, the Stroz report became public — and those with the intestinal fortitude to sift through all 34 pages can do so here 😛 TAGEND
But for those who don’t find poring over a due diligence report as much fun as we do, there are quick-acting transportation novelists like Recode’s Johana Bhuiyan, who have succeeded in dissect the document before most of us were thinking about getting ready for bed.
Here are the highlights 😛 TAGEND First, after considering the amount of information disclosed in the report, it’s clear why Alphabet requested more time to review it prior to appearing in tribunal — it’s a lot to get through, even if you don’t have to prepare a legal occurrence. Earlier the coming week, a magistrate granted that request, and the trial date has been pushed to December 6th. Stroz Friedberg discovered during its investigation that Levandowski was, in fact, in possession of “highly confidential” information from Waymo “stored on five disks on his personal Drobo 50, ” which he subsequently destroyed — things like “source code, files, and software pertaining to self-driving cars.a The report also found that Levandowski met with Uber executives while he was still employed by Google( owned by Alphabet ). Additionally, text messages exchanged with former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick were discovered to have taken place soon after Levandowski left his post with Google. Stroz Friedberg also discovered that Lior Ron, Levandowski’s co-founder of Otto( the company he launched prior to joining Uber ), was in possession of similarly proprietary datum. Shortly before leaving Google, it was found that he made efforts to destroy digital files, or at least learn how to do so. The one share= one referendum model was approved. That reduces the voting power of both Kalanick and Benchmark, as well as others, who had strong opinions on the matter: