Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google parent Alphabet, has reportedly offered a chance for Uber to end the grueling legal battle between the two companies.
However, Waymo’s demands may be impossible to meet for Uber, which is probably why the dispute has not yet been resolved.
Waymo Demands $1 Billion, Public Apology
Last month, it was reported that Waymo wanted Uber to pay $2.6 billion for just one out of the nine trade secrets that the ride-hailing company allegedly stole from Alphabet’s self-driving car division.
A new Reuters report, meanwhile, claimed that Waymo has previously offered a chance for Uber to settle the dispute between the companies by paying $1 billion and issuing a public apology. According to sources, Waymo also asked for the appointment of an independent monitor to make sure that Uber does not use technology owned by Waymo in the future.
It was unclear when Waymo made the offer and exactly how much it demanded as payment. What is known, however, is that Uber rejected the terms.
The lawsuit started in February, as Waymo accused Uber’s former head for its self-driving car project, Anthony Levandowski, of stealing over 14,000 files just before he left Google. Uber denies that it used any trade secrets that Levandowski allegedly stole in the development of its own self-driving technology.
Waymo requested for the postponement of the trial, which has now been moved from October to December. This was after the division received a 2016 Uber report that it is planning to use as evidence in the upcoming hearings.
Waymo attorney Amy Candido declined to issue a comment on the reported settlement offer but reiterated the reasons for the lawsuit against Uber.
“Waymo had one goal: to stop Uber from using its trade secrets,” Candido said. “That remains its goal.”
Settlement Price Too High For Uber?
The aggressive demand in terms of the settlement price shows that Waymo believes that it is in good position over Uber in the ongoing dispute. The division knows that, and it tried to deal a massive blow to Uber with its offer.
A $1 billion payment will not move the needle much for Google, which has over $90 billion in cash and marketable securities. The amount, however, is a massive one for Uber.
As of January, Uber was said to have $7 billion on hand with a $2.3 billion credit line waiting in the wings. However, the ride-hailing company has not yet turned to a profit, booking a $645 million adjusted net loss for Uber’s second quarter despite an adjusted net revenue of $1.75 billion. A $1 billion payment would extend the wait for Uber to start making a profit and may even place it in deeper danger of going bankrupt in a few years.
Uber, however, has also been dealing with many other issues, the most recent of which concerns the Uber app for iOS. The app was said to have the ability to secretly take screenshots of iPhones, which the company has denied ever doing.
With many other problems on its place, perhaps Uber should think about settling the dispute sooner than later so that it can focus more resources on other issues.