Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving last week put out a report suggesting Uber helped reduced drunk-driving accidents. However, the claim gets a little wobbly when you take a closer look at the numbers, as ProPublica just did. Now MADD is backing away from the assertion, claiming the relationship is "purely correlational." Meanwhile, it turns out Uber started donating money to MADD last summer. Surely that is unrelated, right?
Remember how Eric Schmidt spent years sitting on the Apple board, quietly learning everything about the iPhone — and then, presto, Google suddenly came out with Android and it looked a whole lot like the iPhone operating system and Steve Jobs went nuts on Schmidt for being such a sneaky, backstabbing son of a bitch?
Ashton Kutcher is a walking conflict of interest. He invests his acting fortune into startups like Uber and then promotes those companies without disclosing his financial ties. Now that Uber's culture of sleaze is making headlines across the country, Ashton's back out there defending Uber's exposed plans to discredit reporters who dare criticize Uber.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick just responded to privacy and ethics concerns about Emil Michael, after the top executive publicly suggested paying $1 million to smear journalists who have criticized the multi-billion corporation. Kalanick's medium of choice was Twitter and his method was a "tweetstorm," a series of thoughts that give the illusion of substance and circumspection because they are presented in a numerical order.
Uber's competitors, regulators, and drivers can take a breath. The company, which believes it is worth $25 billion, has a new nemesis: reporters who don't follow the puff piece protocol. A top Uber executive suggested hiring opposition researchers "specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company," reports Buzzfeed.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick believes in magic. With the "magic" of driverless cars, he recently said on stage, the cost of his car service will become cheaper because riders don't have to pay for "the other dude in the car," i.e. the human driver. Now with Uber's new Spotify partnership, you don't even have to listen to him!
The legal battle between Lyft and its former COO is shaping up to be a long, ugly fight. The on-demand car company has accused Travis VanderZanden of stealing tens of thousands of secret company documents before he joined Lyft's main competitor, Uber. Now VanderZanden has fired back in a new court filing, saying he was plotting with Lyft's board of directors to dispose of the company's CEO before leaving the startup.
Uber made a small splash last month when it hired Lyft's former COO Travis VanderZanden. Kara Swisher said the move "will surely increase tensions between Uber and Lyft, which are now pretty tense as it is." And she was right: Lyft is suing VanderZanden, alleging that he took company secrets along with him to Uber.
Amazon is pushing hard to satisfy their customer's demand for same-day delivery. And thanks for Uber and Lyft's aggressive price war, on-demand taxi startups just might make it possible. According to a Valleywag source and the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is now testing out delivering packages with Uber and Flywheel.
The subprime lending market that plunged America into the Great Recession is back and as unscrupulous as ever. Instead of mortgages, this time a bubble has formed around auto loans, and reliably ruthless Uber is in the thick of it. Two "partners" in Uber's vehicle financing program are under federal investigation, but Uber hasn't slowed its aggressive marketing campaign to get drivers with bad credit to sign up for loans.
When Ed Lee was appointed mayor of San Francisco in early 2011, he quickly spearheaded the passage of a Mid-Market neighborhood tax break. It was sold to the public as a way to keep high-profile startups like Twitter in town and revive the chronically-struggling neighborhood. But a report for the city's controller's office indicates the tax break hasn't been quite so successful.
Uber just got caught trying to play the LA Weekly. Within a day of publishing an expose on the company, a "PR handler" representing a former taxi driver contacted the Weekly, looking to publish a piece praising Uber. After the paper did some digging, they discovered the $17 billion startup was trying to plant the story.