Uber Settles With Waymo for $245 Million

Company says it "regrets" the issue; promises to use only Uber technology.

by on Feb.09, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to rehabilitate the company's image.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to knock down the roadblocks to the ride-sharing company’s progress as the company settled a long-running dispute with rival Waymo over trade secrets.

The company paid $245 million of its own stock to Waymo, the spinoff of Google’s autonomous vehicle business, and an agreement to not use any Waymo-based technology in its development of self-driving vehicles, according to a Reuters report.

The Last Word!

The settlement came as the two sides were about to begin a fifth day in court over the dispute, which has been costing Uber time and money as it looks to rehabilitate its reputation on multiple fronts.

In addition to the spat with Waymo, the company is being investigated over its use of technology to spy on competitors, such as Lyft; wrestling with London’s transportation agency over its license, allegations of sexual harassment and fighting with its over drivers over pay and other forms of compensation.

(Waymo buying “thousands” of Chrysler minivans for its new driverless ride-hailing service. Click Here for the story.)

Khosrowshahi took over last fall for Uber’s founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick after the company’s board of directors voted to remove Kalanick from the day-to-day operations of the company. Since then, the former CEO of Expedia, has been tasked with cleaning up after Kalanick.

Uber agreed to ensure no Waymo technology ends up its self driving vehicles.

Thus far, he’s managed to begin a culture change at the company in regards to how employees interact, approved measures to increase driver pay, including allowing tips like Lyft and other ride-sharing services, and he’s at least been conciliatory regarding the other problems facing the company.

However, he’s not been a pushover in the process either. In negotiations last year, Waymo demanded $1 billion and an independent monitor to ensure none of its technology was being used. The talks this time around started at $500 million, according to Reuters, and finished $245 million and a guaranteed.

(Click Here to see more about Uber’s fight against human trafficking.)

Reportedly, Waymo wanted an apology as well. Khosrowshahi offered his “regrets” about the issue. Not quite an apology, but not a refusal to acknowledge the issue either.

“While we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

While the matter is settled in civil court, the Department of Justice continues its investigation into the matter, involving former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski.

(To see more about Uber’s criminal probe due to “espionage,” Click Here.)

Levandowski, who became the self-driving car chief at Uber and was eventually fired, downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files containing designs for autonomous vehicles in December 2015 before he went on to work at Uber in 2016. Levandowski has not publicly commented on the allegations.

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