A $245 Million Settlement Has Brought the Waymo v. Uber Legal Battle to a Close

Uber Pays for Stolen Secrets

After spending nearly a week in the courtroom, Waymo and Uber came to an agreement on Friday, Feb. 9, in which the latter will pay the Google/Alphabet division a significant sum of money (in our view — perhaps not in Google’s). This development concludes the legal battle that has been raging between the two autonomous-vehicle companies since Waymo claimed that their trade secrets had been stolen for use in Uber’s production of self-driving technology.

In a statement provided to Business Insider, Waymo states that Uber has also agreed to not use any of its hardware or software trade secrets going forward — suggesting that Uber might have done so in the past and Waymo’s suspicions were correct. Additionally, Uber will pay Waymo $ 245 million in equity.

As reported by Gizmodo, Waymo had a list of more than 100 claims of trade secret violations it was prepared to fight for, though only eight were presented at trial. Matters involving Uber’s acquisition of self-driving truck company Otto — launched by former Google employee Anthony Levandowski — were also of concern to Waymo, as well  Levandowski’s possession of confidential files.

Witnesses like Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Levandowski were expected to appear at some point this week at the federal court session in San Francisco, but the this settlement has put an end to that. The payout likely spared Levandowski from some public scrutiny, as, according to The Verge, he was expected to invoke the Fifth Amendment when he took the stand.

A New Relationship

Uber’s settlement with Waymo has essentially forced parent company Google to become an investor in Uber and its future, which includes the ride-sharing company’s plans to go public. Waymo affirmed the new partnership in their statement, saying “We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology.”

In a seperate statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi doubled down on the company’s previous defense that it didn’t use any of Waymo’s ideas. However, Khosrowshahi also admitted that Uber’s acquisition of Otto “should have been handled differently,” and he acknowledged the new relationship shared by the two companies.

“To our friends at Alphabet: we are partners, you are an important investor in Uber, and we share a deep belief in the power of technology to change people’s lives for the better,” Khosrowshahi said in the statement. “Of course, we are also competitors.”

To be partners, yet also direct competitors, is quite a delicate relationship to maintain. The coming years will tell if this development will help or hinder the world’s transition to autonomous vehicles. Khosrowshahi made it clear that he intends to keep competing with Waymo to transform the transportation industry for the benefit of all.

“As we change the way we operate and put integrity at the core of every decision we make, we look forward to the great race to build the future,” he said in the statement. “We believe that race should be fair — and one whose ultimate winners are people, cities, and our environment.

The post A $ 245 Million Settlement Has Brought the Waymo v. Uber Legal Battle to a Close appeared first on Futurism.


Apple will pay $38 billion U.S. repatriation tax on $245 billion in overseas profits

A small surprise was nestled in the middle of Apple’s announcement of a $ 350 billion contribution to the U.S. economy today: Apple confirmed that it will repatriate the giant pile of cash it has held overseas. According to the release, Apple expects to pay approximately $ 38 billion in U.S. repatriation taxes, which means that it will be using a special corporate tax break to repatriate approximately $ 245 billion in profits created outside the country.

Prior to the passage of the reduced 15.5 percent tax rate, Apple faced a 35-40 percent cost to bring overseas profits back into the United States — a tax burden it was unwilling to bear. Including both federal and state taxes, Apple might have been expected to pay up to $ 100 billion in taxes on $ 250 billion of overseas profits.

Apple’s plans to bring the foreign cash back into the United States have been underway for some time. In September 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook openly spoke of the company’s expectation that it would rapidly receive a tax cut from whomever the next president was, and that the company would likely repatriate the cash in 2017.

In April 2017, the White House floated a reduced repatriation rate of 10 percent, which Congress subsequently increased in its late December tax bill. Apple waited for the new rate, and nearly $ 60 billion in savings, to bring the cash back into the United States.

Despite hopes that Apple might immediately announce all of its plans for the massive windfall, potentially including a giant-sized acquisition, the company did not specify how it will use the repatriated cash. Instead, it focused on the $ 38 billion tax payment, noting that a “payment of that size would likely be the largest of its kind ever made,” and that the tax will be part of its $ 350 billion contribution to the U.S. economy over the next five years.

Update at 1:20 p.m Pacific: Bloomberg reports that Apple will give employees below “director” level a one-time bonus of $ 2,500 in restricted stock units, “following the introduction of the new U.S. tax law.” The grants will be issued to “most employees worldwide in the coming months.”

Apple – VentureBeat

Hyperloop One Now Has $245 Million to Make the Transportation System a Reality

Hyperloop One announced the conclusion of a new round of funding on September 21, revealing an additional $ 85 million was received from investors, including DP World, Caspian VC Partners, WTI, and OurCrowd.com. This new investment puts the company at $ 245 million raised since it was launched in 2014.

As reported by Recode, this also brings Hyperloop One’s total valuation to $ 700 million.

“We initially targeted $ 50 million and ended up raising $ 85 million instead,” said Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar in a statement. “We’ve proven that our technology works and that Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that has built an operational Hyperloop system. As we move towards the commercialization of our technology, we’ll continue to work with governments and embrace public-private partnerships to re-imagine transportation as we know it.”

The announcement came nearly a week after Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge ended and the company revealed the 10 potential routes for its transportation system, including Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh (U.S.), Miami-Orlando (U.S.), Toronto-Montreal (Canada), and Edinburgh-London (UK).

Hyperloop One isn’t the only company making progress on the hyperloop concept. In August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated his Boring Company received permission to extend its test tunnel, and has also been approved to begin building a hyperloop tunnel from New York to Washington D.C. The latter, however, was later revealed to only have been a verbal approval, and that it would need more time before becoming official.

The post Hyperloop One Now Has $ 245 Million to Make the Transportation System a Reality appeared first on Futurism.


Apple Deals: Save $145 to $245 on 27-inch iMac 5Ks & 21.5-inch iMac 4Ks with AppleCare

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AppleInsider – Frontpage News