Uber chief Khorowshahi says $245-mn settlement with Waymo “well worthwhile“
15 February 2018
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company's $245-million settlement with Waymo was "well worthwhile" in his first major public appearance after the case ended last week.
At a Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco, California, he spoke about the ugly legal battle over self-driving car technology and other subjects during a wide-ranging on-stage interview.
Since being appointed five months ago after CEO Travis Kalanick's departure following a series of scandals, Khosrowshahi said one of his key priorities was "removing distractions''.
"I think the Waymo settlement to some extent was a part of that. Hey, let's get this stuff away, let's start executing as a business, because I think as an execution machine we have good people and we have good products.''
Uber had faced accusations from Waymo, a self-driving car company owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, of stealing purported trade secrets relating to autonomous vehicle technology.
Before the case came up to trial, Uber had struggled with numerous scandals, including allegations of workplace sexism and departure of high profile executives, which considerably damaged its image.
A week into the trial, Uber agreed to settle the case offering $245 million in equity. Without admitting any wrongdoing, the chief executive in a statement expressed "regret" and added that the events that led to the trial "should have been handled differently.''
Uber, though, has pledged to never use the trade secrets in its software and hardware. Khosrowshahi now has one less scandal to deal clearing the way to IPO without hurting Uber's self-driving car development. The $245-million settlement also comes at a substantial discount from the $1-billion payout Waymo initially demanded.
Meanwhile, ousted CEO Travis Kalanick issued a statement saying he believed Uber would have won the case regardless.