Waymo settles dispute with Uber

Uber to pay $245 million to settle Google's Waymo theft allegations

Uber to pay $245 million to settle Google's Waymo theft allegations

After four days of arguments and testimony in U.S. District Court, Uber agreed to provide Waymo, the self-driving auto unit spun out of Google's parent company, Alphabet, with 0.34 percent of its stock.

Witnesses like Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Levandowski were expected to appear at some point this week at the federal court session in San Francisco, but the this settlement has put an end to that.

The terms of the compromise, which comes less than a week after the start of the trial, which saw Travis Kalanick, the founder and former boss of Uber, testify at the bar, were not disclosed.

The lawsuit that Waymo/Google/Alphabet filed against Uber past year - alleging the theft of trade secrets relating to the company's LiDAR tech for use in self-driving vehicles - has now ended, following a settlement. The resulting compromise cut Uber's payment in half, but provided Waymo with the guarantees that it wanted to prevent its technology from being used in Uber's autonomous cars.

Notably, the $245 million settlement is far lower than the one that Waymo was seeking past year - a cool $1 billion. The judge in the case didn't allow that figure into the trial. "You try to structure a settlement so both sides can spin it as a win-win situation".

Unexpectedly, the two companies announced Friday a compromise to stop a trial that has kept the tech industry on high alert since the beginning of the week.

The jury was also shown a clip - sent from Levandowski to Kalanick - from the 1987 film "Wall Street" in which the Michael Douglas lead character proclaims "greed is good". Uber later fired Levandowski as allegations against him surfaced. The U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal probe at the prodding of Alsup, although it hasn't publicly identified the targets of that investigation.

The goal was not only to "leapfrog" Google in the race to build self-driving cars, Waymo lawyers alleged, but also to keep Uber alive.

Uber to pay $245 million to settle Google's Waymo theft allegations
Uber agrees to pay Waymo $245 million equity to settle suit

Including the settlement, the cost of that Otto deal is now almost $1 billion, without factoring in Uber's legal bills in the case. Alphabet already owns Uber shares since it invested in the company in 2013.

"As Uber's statement indicates, no trade secrets ever came to Uber", the statement said.

In a seperate statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi doubled down on the company's previous defense that it didn't use any of Waymo's ideas. Uber learned of Levandowski's actions but still went ahead with the deal, Waymo claimed.

Self-driving research is an important initiative for Uber.

For Waymo, the settlement protects the technology that has vaulted it into the early lead in the self-driving vehicle market and provides a measure of personal vindication for Google co-founder Larry Page, who is now CEO of Alphabet Inc., the parent of both Waymo and Google.

An Uber self-driving vehicle in Pittsburgh. Kalanick said, "I don't know, I don't remember".

Stock in the privately held Uber would be transferred immediately to Alphabet, which was an early Uber investor and remains as one of its largest shareholders. The value of the settlement could be less, however, because Softbank and Dragoneer Investment Group bought some shares at a discount that valued the company as low as $48 billion. "We are committed to working with Uber to ensure that each company develops its own technologies, which means that no proprietary information belonging to Waymo should be included in Uber's software", she added.

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