Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Market Insanity

Uber Accused of Spying on Lyft Drivers, Might be Thrown out of London

The latest Uber scandal is among the strangest and most bothersome yet, the ride-hailing giant is being accused of spying on drivers working for its archrival Lyft.

The FBI is investigating allegations that Uber used software to illegally track and conduct surveillance upon Lyft drivers, Tech Crunch reported. The spying involved a program with the amusing and disturbing name “Hell.”

The purpose of “Hell” was apparently to give Uber drivers an unfair edge over Lyft operators. Hell worked by creating Lyft accounts that exposed the locations and routes drivers for that service used. That enabled Uber to undercut Lyft’s prices and poach customers.

The FBI is probably trying to determine whether Uber violated federal laws against wiretapping and happing. Uber is reportedly the target of two other investigations by the Bureau. The first probe concerns acquisitions of bribery of foreign officials. A second investigation involves allegations that Uber stole information from Alphabet’s self-driving car Unicorn Waymo.

Uber might be thrown out of London

One organization that is not amused by Uber’s history of scandals is Transport for London, the agency that controls taxi licensing in the British capitol.

Transport’s board is considering revoking Uber’s license which would bar it from operating in London, Business Insider reported. Three members of the board want the license pulled because of the country’s bad behavior.

Even if the license is renewed Uber’s operations might face serious restrictions in London. The license must be renewed by the end of London for Uber to operate in the city.

Transport for London had granted Uber a four-month extension but that only lasts through the end of September. If the license is not renewed Uber service in London, would halt on September 30.

New Uber CEO

It looks as if Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has his work cut out for him. Khosrowshahi, the former CEO of Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE), was hired in late August. Tech Crunch speculated that Dara was hired for his mergers and acquisitions experience.

If that’s true his job might be to arrange Uber’s sale. He might also be there to fold some other companies into Uber. Another possibility is that Khosrowshahi is there to build up alliances with corporations such as Walmart, Kroger, airlines, and hotels in an attempt to generate cash, steady business, and respectability for Uber.

One has to wonder if anybody can save Uber from itself and Travis Kalanick’s foul legacy.