Uber’s Battle for Survival

By Sam Edem

Every organization conducts its activities everyday deliberately avoiding internal as well as external threats to it business.

It is on that basis that many companies have the quality assurance department to check product quality, feedback systems to assess customer satisfaction and a legal adviser to ensure that every activity conforms to the law.

However, for the world’s leading ride-sharing firm – Uber, no amount of precautionary measures has saved it from the wrath of its numerous rivals.

Earlier last year, it was its own drivers who sued the company demanding that they should be made independent contractors rather than employees. The idea was that Uber regarded its staffs (drivers) as the company’s assets making it impossible for them work without a legal obligation to make remittances to the firm.

As at August last year, there were over 70 lawsuits against the company, the Drivers vs Uber being the biggest since the inception of the ride-sharing giant.

Perhaps that might no more be the case following the latest lawsuit by Google’s Waymo.

Uber is accused of stealing trade secrets from Waymo – a brain child of Google’s self-driving division.

Waymo has a requested an injunction that would stop Uber from using the disputed tech, which could severely hamper Uber’s development of self-driving cars.

The allegation filed in February this year directly implicates Uber’s former employee by citing that Anthony Levandowski, had downloaded 14,000 documents relating to LiDAR, the system that allows self-driving cars to “see” what’s around them.

In a desperate move to save the business from the devastating consequences of such accusation, Uber has consistently denied the allegations and the result has been an increased level of aggressiveness from Waymo.

In a statement on the lawsuit, Uber said: “If Waymo genuinely thought that Uber was using its secrets, it would not have waited more than five months to seek an injunction.” Adding that “"Waymo doesn't meet the high bar for an injunction, which would stifle our independent innovation - probably Waymo's goal in the first place.”

There is no doubt about the pressure within the company at the moment over its fate if Waymo is to have its way in court. Perhaps these concerns are equally shared by thousands of the Uber users worldwide who worry that excessive litigation is taking the attention of their favourite ride-sharing partner away from progressive measures that would improve the service.