On Friday morning, Waymo and Uber settled their trade secrets lawsuit, setting the stage for self-driving marketplace competition rather than a legal battle.
After a drawn-out struggle both in a court of law and the court of public opinion, a settlement is the outcome that makes the most sense for both parties. To borrow a phrase that came out during trial from Uber’s ex-CEO, Travis Kalanick, the deal “minimizes risk, minimizes pain.”
Waymo gets what it wants: Uber agreed to ensure that none of Waymo’s “confidential information” would end up in hardware or software produced by Uber’s self-driving division, known as the Advanced Technologies Group. Waymo also will receive a sizeable 0.34 percent equity share of Uber, worth over $244 million. No money has actually changed hands: it’s an all-equity arrangement, which means Waymo is financially invested to some degree in Uber’s future. (The New York Times reported Friday that Uber’s board had initially offered 0.68 percent, but that proposal was yanked prior to trial. After Thursday’s fourth day of trial, settlement talks resumed.)