Emergent Tech

Uh-oh! Someone hit the Kalanick button! Uber's fired CEO claims Waymo deal vindicates him

Travis: A pain in the ASCII right to the end

By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco


Comment The man responsible for dragging the reputation of one of the tech world's biggest names through the mud, into the gutter, and in circles around raw sewage has claimed today's out-of-court Waymo-Uber settlement vindicates him.

Yes, folks, Travis Kalanick is being a prick right to the very end.

"As Uber’s statement indicates, no trade secrets ever came to Uber," Kalanick said in a statement shortly after his old company announced it would be giving competitor Waymo $245m in stock in return for it dropping its lawsuit against the ride-hailing app company.

Uber and Waymo sitting in a tree, S-E-T-T-L-I-N-G


Kalanick was talking out of his ass, of course: the Uber statement says no such thing. Written by its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, it stated: "While we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber…" Our emphasis.

Kalanick's statement continued: "Our sole objective was to hire the most talented scientists and engineers to help lead the company and our cities to a driverless future."

But that overlooks the fact a former Uber employee, security analyst Richard Jacobs, said in testimony provided to the US Attorney for Northern California that he was part of a secretive group within Uber that was set up to steal trade secrets from its rivals. The testimony caused the judge in the Waymo case – in which Waymo accused Uber of stealing its self-driving car blueprints – to delay the trial for two months.


Kalanick's nonsense continued: "The evidence at trial overwhelmingly proved that, and had the trial proceeded to its conclusion, it is clear Uber would have prevailed."

It did not, of course. The trial did not prove anything, and it was very far from certain that Uber would win. While no smoking gun was revealed in public, there was plenty of material that painted Uber and Kalanick in a very poor light.

Waymo may not have been able to prove that taxi app biz conspired with an ex-Waymo engineer to steal its trade secrets, but there were so many unusual coincidences that no one – except Kalanick, it seems – thinks for a second that it wasn't possible.

Pretty much everyone following the trial was wondering whether Waymo had managed to find one supremely damaging piece of information. That it didn't produce anything before it settled is so far from Uber's innocence having been "overwhelmingly proved" that you have to wonder why Kalanick even bothered to pipe up – who is he hoping to persuade?

Kalanick closed his gibberish by stating that he "remains proud of the critically important contributions Uber ATG [Advanced Technologies Group] has made to the company’s future, and I look forward to their inspired efforts becoming a reality on the roads in cities around the world."

Good for you, Travis. In the meantime, you may want to read the entire statement put out by the guy who was given your job. It apologizes repeatedly for the toxic culture you created, and promises to change it to something more palatable.

It might as well have been headlined: "I'm so sorry about our former douchebag CEO." ®

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