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Shubha Ghosh Discusses Uber/Alphabet Self-Driving Car Suit with The Washington Post

Posted on Tuesday 2/13/2018
Shubha Ghosh

Uber CEO Plays It Safe in Risk-Loving Silicon Valley

(The Washington Post | Feb. 13, 2018) For nearly a year, Uber and Google's parent company, Alphabet, clashed over settling a lawsuit Alphabet filed against the ride-sharing company, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Uber chose to gamble for a victory in court rather than compromise, a choice that led to a high-stakes public trial last week.

Negotiations went right up to the trial itself. As recently as last week, Uber’s board had rejected a settlement offer.

Yet on Friday, just as journalists were settling into the packed courtroom after days of bruising testimony, Uber announced it was settling the case. The agreement gave Alphabet’s self-driving car business Waymo a stake worth $244 million in the world’s most valuable privately-held start-up — and the right to vet Uber's self-driving technology ...

.... In announcing the settlement to the lawsuit Friday morning, Khosrowshahi addressed Uber’s “friends at Alphabet.” Google’s parent company, in the lawsuit filed last February, had accused Uber of stealing its trade secrets and using them in its own self-driving car technology.

A loss would have been “devastating,” for Uber, valued at $72 billion according to its most recent round, said Shubha Ghosh, director of the Technology Commercialization Law Center at Syracuse University’s College of Law. Alphabet was seeking damages of $1 billion.

Khosrowshahi wasn’t willing to take the risk of losing the lawsuit. “A settlement leaves matters more ambiguous for Uber and gives the company some cover,” Ghosh said. Khosrowshahi doesn’t want to stay mired in fights that drag Uber down, say people who work with him. He has said he plans for Uber to have a public offering next year ...

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