Brian Wiita | Uber’s Tough Week, Tech Acrimony and Manufacturing

It’s been a tough week for Uber.

The company is still reeling after a former employee asserted that she had been sexually harassed and then ignored when she told the human resources department.

Now, Uber is being sued by Waymo, the self-driving car business that was spun out of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Waymo accused Uber of using intellectual property stolen by one of Google’s former project leaders. It said Anthony Levandowski, who runs Uber’s autonomous car division, downloaded files from Google a month before leaving to start his own self-driving car company, Otto, which was later bought by Uber.

How did Waymo know this? The company said it had been inadvertently copied on an email from a supplier with drawings of an Uber circuit board design that bore “a striking resemblance” to its own (proprietary and highly secret) design.

As for the sexual harassment accusations from Susan Fowler, the former employee, they have prompted an investigation into the workplace culture at Uber.

Some early investors in Uber, however, have already expressed their frustration with the company’s inability to change. The investors, Mitch and Freada Kapor, also questioned the independence of the inquiry.

Tech World Acrimony

Snap, the parent company of the disappearing-message app Snapchat, is trying to whip up investor interest before its initial public offering.

But so far, one of the most talked-about features of its I.P.O. is the overwhelming control that the founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, will retain through voting power not available to its public shareholders.

Brian Wiita | Real Estate Advisor

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