Google, Uber now rivals: Alphabet’s David Drummond resigns from Uber board

History can be helpful to understand the present, so let’s go back to 2009, when Google co-founder Eric Schmidt resigned from the board of Apple. Why? Two years previously, Google had unveiled its Android operating system for phones and its Chrome system for computers.

“Unfortunately,” the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release, “as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.”

That kind of overlap has now cut a tie between Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and ride-hailing behemoth Uber. Google Ventures (now GV) had invested a whopping $258 million in Uber in 2013. Alphabet’s senior vice president of corporate development David Drummond has vacated his seat on Uber’s board.

“I recently stepped down from Uber’s board given the overlap between the two companies,” Drummond said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

Alphabet and Uber, the newspaper noted, “are in a race to develop and commercialize self-driving cars.” Uber has just announced it will test self-driving taxis in Pennsylvania, while Alphabet “has considered testing its self-driving cars as part of a ride-hailing service of its own, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal reported. ”

Given that the two tech giants are now going after the same pot of gold, it’s not surprising Drummond resigned, if only to avoid the type of conflicts Schmidt would have faced on Apple’s board if he’d stayed on. According to the WSJ, Drummond left the board several weeks ago. However, on Monday website The Information reported that before Drummond left the Uber board, Uber had been shutting him out of meetings for most of a year.

“It’s unclear what legal grounds Uber used to shut out Mr. Drummond from meetings,” The Information reported. “It is possible Uber pressured Mr. Drummond to recuse himself from attending the meetings, or Uber could have informed him that his attendance would be a breach of his fiduciary duty to Uber.”

Amir Efrati of The Information, who wrote the article about Drummond, took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to question Uber’s statement to the WSJ that Drummond had left the board weeks ago. “That’s interesting because Uber spokesperson told The Information last night that Drummond was still on the board,” Efrati tweeted.

 

Photo: A self-driving Ford Fusion hybrid car is test driven, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, in Pittsburgh. Uber said that passengers in Pittsburgh will be able to summon rides in self-driving cars with the touch of a smartphone button in the next several weeks. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

 

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  • Dan Fundarz

    Might as well stay and steal from them as much as you can. Thats what they did with Apple also.

  • Bongstradamus

    Google got punked by an App company they funded.

    Can they bring anything to market other than a new way to serve an ad?

 
 
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