Podcast Notes: Google partners with Lyft, spells doom for Uber

  • Relationship between Google and Uber has soured dramatically, driven primarily by Uber trying to compete with Google directly on autonomous car technology. Uber was motivated to do this in large part by Google’s (fickle) intent to roll out their own car-sharing service.
  • Now, Google has decided that taking driverless cars direct to consumer would be prohibitively expensive. The cost of building out the passenger network would be too costly, both from capital expenditure and time perspectives.
  • Thus, Google has decided to partner with existing ride-sharing services to take their autonomous car technology to market.
  • Note that Google Ventures is an investor in Uber, but Google has still decided to pursue a relationship with Lyft and Ola instead.
  • Also note that Lyft appeared to have been struggling prior to their last $600M raise, but Uber’s PR troubles enabled them to raise additional capital. Investors felt this bet was still viable. Now that Lyft is partnered with Google, they are the best direct investment into driverless cars in the US (Lyft’s network + Google’s tech), and are poised to raise additional capital.
  • This is probably the most major event to impact Uber’s potential for profitability long-term.