For those unaware, Google is in the middle of a lawsuit against the popular ride-sharing service Uber for allegedly acquiring trade secrets from a former Google employee. This lawsuit was filed back in February of this year and since then the relationship between Google and Uber has broken down more and more. This opens up a big opportunity for Uber’s rival, Lyft, and now a new report says that Alphabet could invest as much as $1 billion in the company.
Google’s self-driving car spinoff company is called Waymo and back in February they filed a lawsuit against Uber. The claim was that Uber got in touch with and hired a former Google employee by the name of Anthony Levandowski. The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Levandowski took more than 14,000 confidential files on his way out the door and provided them to Uber’s self-driving division when the company hired him later that year.
So now, Bloomberg is citing “people familiar with the matter” who say Alphabet has held conversations with Lyft concerning a possible investment opportunity. Lyft has a big uphill battle to deal with from their competition with Uber. The company recently launched a major television ad campaign starring Jeff Bridges, but they have been focused on controlling their spending. This investment from Alphabet could allow them to experiment more and not have to worry about finances.
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This would help both Lyft as well as Waymo since they have partnered with each other to help test self-driving cars. The people familiar with the meetings say the investment from Alphabet could either come from Google or CapitalG (Alphabet’s private-equity arm) — which is interesting to say the least since Alphabet is also a shareholder in Uber through its GV (formerly Google Ventures) venture capital arm. Either way, it shows Google is serious about their self-driving car technology and aren’t afraid to invest in anyone who can help them.