Google’s parent company Alphabet is one of Uber’s shareholders, but that won’t stop the company from investing $1 billion in Uber-rival Lyft, particularly at this moment in time. Alphabet, whose self-driving car project is well ahead of rivals, is embroiled in a legal battle with Uber, as the latter is accused of having stolen proprietary autonomous driving technology from Alphabet’s Waymo.
The Alphabet-Lyft deal isn’t confirmed yet, as Alphabet is only holding “conversations” with Lyft, according to Bloomberg. There’s always a chance the two parties will fail to ink out an agreement. Alphabet and Lyft negotiated the acquisition of Lyft last year, but those talks led nowhere.
Now, Lyft is looking to win market share in the US at the expense of Uber. The trial with Google is just one of many issues and scandals that hit Uber this year. The ride-hailing service had to deal with accusations of sexism and is facing several FBI investigations. One of them concerns Uber’s spying of Lyft. On top of that, Uber lost plenty of users in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s first travel ban and faced an exodus of top execs. It all culminated with the ousting of Travis Kalanick, who was replaced by former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Lyft is looking to ensure its independence in the near future Bloomberg explains. A $1 billion cash infusion from Alphabet will help with that and accelerate Lyft’s expansion plans at the same time.
Regardless of whether Alphabet invests in Lyft or not, Waymo is already working with Lyft on testing self-driving cars.