Uber and Waymo just reached a $245 million settlement

Angelica Greene
February 10, 2018

During Kalanick's second day of trial testimony, Waymo sought to portray him as so eager to improve Uber's lagging autonomous auto business that he did a deal with Levandowski without properly assessing the risks.

Waymo filed its lawsuit almost a year ago, adding to Uber's woes with allegations of a bold high-tech heist orchestrated by its former CEO, Travis Kalanick, and a former Google engineer.

Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler accused Uber in a blog post of being a toxic place for women to work, a charge that ultimately led Kalanick to resign under pressure from investors. Should Uber have been be found guilty, its own self-driving endeavors might have been placed on indefinite hold.

As with most settlements, the truce required some compromise by both sides.

Waymo claimed damages worth $1.9 billion in the trial.

Uber and Waymo announced Friday that they had settled their court battle over the alleged theft of self-driving auto trade secrets. He said he hired Levandowski for his talent.

So why did Google settle so quickly?

"You were not able to complete your investigation by April 11th, were you?", Waymo's lawyer, Charles Verhoeven, asked Friedberg Wednesday.

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Since taking over as Uber's CEO, Khosrowshahi has been doing damage control of Uber's existing problems almost full-time.

"The central issues in this case remains whether or not Uber misappropriated Uber's trade secrets, not whether Uber is an evil corporation", he said in one pretrial hearing. Google is still an investor in Uber, one source noted, and it was to Google's benefit to preserve-and subsequently cash in on-Uber's I.P.O. It had previously been alleged that Otto had really been an elaborate ruse for Uber to steal Waymo's lidar technology.

The trade secrets case began on February 5th, 2018.

Still, Uber sees this as a big win, especially since it clears the deck for the company ahead of its expected public offering.

"We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology", a Waymo spokesman said on Friday.

"Of course, we are also competitors", said Khosrowshahi, in the same statement.

"While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward", he said. "It means Waymo is invested in Uber's future". According to the terms of the settlement, it will receive 0.34% of Uber's equity at an earlier valuation high of $72 billion, which comes to about $245 million. On the other hand, if Uber convinces the jury that none of Waymo's trade secrets ever made it to the ride-hailing company, even through Levandowski's memory, then it may not matter how well-informed Uber was about him, Pooley said. "We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation in the labs and on the roads and we look forward to bringing fully self-driving cars to world". US District Judge William Alsup issued constant reminders in both his written orders and in-court instructions that the case was to be exclusively focused on the misappropriation of eight alleged trade secrets and "not whether or not Uber is an evil corporation".

Other reports by GizPress

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