Schlagwort-Archive: Uber

June 2018 Tech News & Trends to Watch

1. Companies Worldwide Strive for GDPR Compliance

By now, everyone with an email address has seen a slew of emails announcing privacy policy updates. You have Europe’s GDPR legislation to thank for your overcrowded inbox. GDPR creates rules around how much data companies are allowed to collect, how they’re able to use that data, and how clear they have to be with consumers about it all.

Companies around the world are scrambling to get their business and its practices into compliance – a significant task for many of them. While technically, the deadline to get everything in order passed on May 25, for many companies the process will continue well into June and possibly beyond. Some companies are even shutting down in Europe for good, or for as long as it takes them to get in compliance.

Even with the deadline behind us, the GDPR continues to be a top story for the tech world and may remain so for some time to come.


2. Amazon Provides Facial Recognition Tech to Law Enforcement

Amazon can’t seem to go a whole month without showing up in a tech news roundup. This month it’s for a controversial story: selling use of Rekognition, their facial recognition software, to law enforcement agencies on the cheap.

Civil rights groups have called for the company to stop allowing law enforcement access to the tech out of concerns that increased government surveillance can pose a threat to vulnerable communities in the country. In spite of the public criticism, Amazon hasn’t backed off on providing the tech to authorities, at least as of this time.


3. Apple Looks Into Self-Driving Employee Shuttles

Of the many problems facing our world, the frustrating work commute is one that many of the brightest minds in tech deal with just like the rest of us. Which makes it a problem the biggest tech companies have a strong incentive to try to solve.

Apple is one of many companies that’s invested in developing self-driving cars as a possible solution, but while that goal is still (probably) years away, they’ve narrowed their focus to teaming up with VW to create self-driving shuttles just for their employees.  Even that project is moving slower than the company had hoped, but they’re aiming to have some shuttles ready by the end of the year.


4. Court Weighs in on President’s Tendency to Block Critics on Twitter

Three years ago no one would have imagined that Twitter would be a president’s go-to source for making announcements, but today it’s used to that effect more frequently than official press conferences or briefings.

In a court battle that may sound surreal to many of us, a judge just found that the president can no longer legally block other users on Twitter.  The court asserted that blocking users on a public forum like Twitter amounts to a violation of their First Amendment rights. The judgment does still allow for the president and other public officials to mute users they don’t agree with, though.


5. YouTube Launches Music Streaming Service

YouTube joined the ranks of Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon this past month with their own streaming music service. Consumers can use a free version of the service that includes ads, or can pay $9.99 for the ad-free version.

youtube music service

With so many similar services already on the market, people weren’t exactly clamoring for another music streaming option. But since YouTube is likely to remain the reigning source for videos, it doesn’t necessarily need to unseat Spotify to still be okay. And with access to Google’s extensive user data, it may be able to provide more useful recommendations than its main competitors in the space, which is one way the service could differentiate itself.


6. Facebook Institutes Political Ad Rules

Facebook hasn’t yet left behind the controversies of the last election. The company is still working to proactively respond to criticism of its role in the spread of political propaganda many believe influenced election results. One of the solutions they’re trying is a new set of rules for any political ads run on the platform.

Any campaign that intends to run Facebook ads is now required to verify their identity with a card Facebook mails to their address that has a verification code. While Facebook has been promoting these new rules for a few weeks to politicians active on the platform, some felt blindsided when they realized, right before their primaries no less, that they could no longer place ads without waiting 12 to 15 days for a verification code to come in the mail. Politicians in this position blame the company for making a change that could affect their chances in the upcoming election.

Even in their efforts to avoid swaying elections, Facebook has found themselves criticized for doing just that. They’re probably feeling at this point like they just can’t win.


7. Another Big Month for Tech IPOs

This year has seen one tech IPO after another and this month is no different. Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has a particularly large IPO in the works. The company seeks to join the Hong Kong stock exchange on June 7 with an initial public offering that experts anticipate could reach $10 billion.

The online lending platform Greensky started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 23 and sold 38 million shares in its first day, 4 million more than expected. This month continues 2018’s trend of tech companies going public, largely to great success.


8. StumbleUpon Shuts Down

In the internet’s ongoing evolution, there will always be tech companies that win and those that fall by the wayside. StumbleUpon, a content discovery platform that had its heyday in the early aughts, is officially shutting down on June 30.

Since its 2002 launch, the service has helped over 40 million users “stumble upon” 60 billion new websites and pieces of content. The company behind StumbleUpon plans to create a new platform that serves a similar purpose that may be more useful to former StumbleUpon users called Mix.


9. Uber and Lyft Invest in Driver Benefits

In spite of their ongoing success, the popular ridesharing platforms Uber and Lyft have faced their share of criticism since they came onto the scene. One of the common complaints critics have made is that the companies don’t provide proper benefits to their drivers. And in fact, the companies have fought to keep drivers classified legally as contractors so they’re off the hook for covering the cost of employee taxes and benefits.

Recently both companies have taken steps to make driving for them a little more attractive. Uber has begun offering Partner Protection to its drivers in Europe, which includes health insurance, sick pay, and parental leave ­ ­– so far nothing similar in the U.S. though. For its part, Lyft is investing $100 million in building driver support centers where their drivers can stop to get discounted car maintenance, tax help, and customer support help in person from Lyft staff. It’s not the same as getting full employee benefits (in the U.S. at least), but it’s something.



Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda lead the autonomous car race

Automakers have spent the majority of 2016 announcing their plans for self-driving and the future of automation, but while some just begin to prototype systems, others are soaring ahead of the pack.

Research and advisory firm Lux Research has charted the 12 major automakers on business execution and technical value, and noted if the company has a positive or negative view on the advent of self-driving.

Lux Grid Auto Self Driving

Toyota, Honda, and Mercedes Benz are ahead right now, as you can see in the graph above. Tesla and BMW aren’t far behind, but the report claims that the two companies have a “wait and see” attitude to self-driving, rather than actively pushing for its arrival. The attitude is based on investments, partnerships, and demonstrated capability.

Daimler Trucks and Hyundai are the other two automakers in the top right on technical value and business execution. German automaker Audi has a decent technical value rating, but lacks the investment or business execution its German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have achieved.

The two major automakers in the U.S.—General Motors and Ford—have similarly poor outlooks. The two companies are lower than all European rivals on technical value and business execution, apart from Renault-Nissan, which is far behind the group.

Self-driving car R&D market is white hot

General Motors has started spending heavily in the self-driving market, investing $500 million in a partnership with ridesharing app Lyft and purchasing Cruise Automation for $1 billion in March. Ford, on the other hand, may be looking to partner with Google to fix some of its self-driving shortcomings.

See Also: Can taxi drivers still have a place in a driverless world?

The PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler are both not on graph, despite both working on self-driving or partnering with tech companies. PSA Group, which controls Peugeot and Citroen, is currently the only firm allowed to test self-driving cars in France. Fiat Chrysler recentlypartnered with Google, providing them with 100 vans, and may have plans to create similar partnerships with Uber and Amazon.

While it is worrying to see companies like Renault-Nissan and Audi not invest in self-driving as much as rivals, we are still three years away from any concrete legislation that allows driverless cars on the road. That is enough time for any automaker to change their attitude towards self-driving.

Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda lead the autonomous car race

Uber auf dem besten Weg zum Mobilitätsgiganten


Krisenzeiten bei Uber – aber die Aussichten sind rosig

Es war ein Skandal von einer Größenordnung, dass ihn selbst ausgebuffte PR-Profis nicht mehr einfangen konnten: Die Uber-kritische Tech-Journalistin Sarah Lacy sollte mit einer Schmutzkampagne überzogen werden, pikante Details aus ihrem Privatleben ausgegraben werden – diesen besonders durchdachten Vorschlag äußerte Emil Michael, Ubers Senior VP for Business, am Freitag bei einer Veranstaltung in New York. BuzzFeed berichtete über die fehlgeleitete Idee; außerdem enthüllte das US-Medium, dass Uber-Manager auch Einblick in die Fahrtrouten und damit die persönlichen Daten von Journalisten nahmen. Das PR-Desaster war perfekt.

Ein Skandal, der zur Unzeit kommt. Denn eigentlich versucht das Unternehmen alles, um sein Arschloch-Image abzustreifen. Und dann sind da die schier endlosen Proteste von Taxi-Fahrern rund um den Globus, Taxizentralen, die mit einem weltweiten Verbund gegen den US-Konkurrenten aufrüsten; nicht nur in Deutschland legen sich die Gerichte quer, Uber muss Fahrer daher angeblich schon mit Sonderboni dazu bringen, überhaupt Fahrten anzubieten und wer dieser Tage in Berlin ein UberBlack-Auto rufen will, dem offenbart die App: keine Fahrer unterwegs, nichts, nada.

Uber geht durch die tiefste Krise seiner Unternehmensgeschichte. Und doch scheinen Investoren gewillt, auf die bereits vorhandenen anderthalb Milliarden US-Dollar an Funding bald noch eine oder gar zwei weitere Milliarden draufzulegen. Das Unternehmen, das bei der letzten Finanzierungsrunde im Juni mit 17 Milliarden bewertet wurde, wird dann irgendetwas zwischen 25 und mehr als 30 Milliarden wert sein.

Woher kommt dieses scheinbar grenzenlose Vertrauen? Was macht das Startup für Investoren derart attraktiv? Und wo steht das Startup, das heute schon längst nicht mehr nur ein Limousinen-Service ist, derzeit wirklich?

  1. Zusätzliches Kapital wäre für Uber tatsächlich nur ein nice to have. Von der letzten Finanzierungsrunde soll Uber noch eine Milliarde Dollar übrig haben. Das heißt, das Startup ist weit weg davon, dringend auf frisches Geld angewiesen zu sein – doch weil das Kapital billig ist und sich Investoren offenbar um Uber-Anteile regelrecht prügeln, ist der Zeitpunkt für weiteres Fundraising schlicht günstig.
  2. Die Umsätze des 2009 gegründeten Unternehmens zeigen steil nach oben: Nach Informationen von Business Insider dürfte Uber spätestens Ende 2015 auf einen Bruttoumsatz von zehn Milliarden US-Dollar zusteuern. Pro Fahrt behält das Unternehmen etwa 20 Prozent Gebühren ein – macht einen Nettoumsatz von zwei Milliarden. Laut CEO Travis Kalanick verdoppeln sich die Umsätze derzeit „mindestens alle sechs Monate“, in einigen seiner größten Märkte sei Uber bereits profitabel. Das Besondere: Den Löwenanteil seines Umsatzes macht Uber offenbar in weniger als zehn Städten auf der ganzen Welt. Das Wachstumspotenzial in den den restlichen 140 bereits erschlossenen Städten dürfte demnach gewaltig sein.
  3. Bisher ist Uber in 46 Ländern vertreten, mit dem frischen Kapital der nächsten Runde soll vor allem nach Asien, Lateinamerika, Osteuropa und Afrika expandiert werden. Das sind Regionen voller Wachstumsmärkte und mangelhaft bis gar nicht ausgebautem öffentlichen Nahverkehr – beste Voraussetzungen vor allem für die Low-Cost-Angebote von Uber.
  4. Uber dürfte dem Druck von Taxifahrern, Politik und Gerichten standhalten. Gesetzesänderungen kann Uber zwar nicht mit seinem Geld erkaufen (zumindest sollte das nicht möglich sein) – aber für die Lobbyistenschlacht ist das Unternehmen bestens gerüstet, Kalanick hat hierfür absolute Top-Leute wie Ex-Obama-Berater David Plouffe eingestellt, um die Stimmung zugunsten von Uber zu drehen. Da ist zwar noch einiges zu tun. Und die vergangenen Tage haben die Aufgabe nicht einfacher gemacht. Aber man muss auch festhalten: Bisher musste sich Uber wegen regulatorischen Drucks nur aus einer einzigen Stadt – Vancouver – zurückziehen.
  5. Neben Expansion in weitere Weltregionen gibt es bei Uber Pläne, in weitere Geschäftsfelder vorzustoßen. Das Startup, das einst als Limousinen-Service begann, macht heute schon viel mehr: Mitfahrgelegenheiten, Taxi-Vermittlung – und Warentransport. Uber hat schon mit dem Ausliefern von Mahlzeiten, Speiseeis oder Impfstoffen experimentiert. Mit UberEssentials kann man sich in Teilen Washingtons bereits heute Bedarfsgegenstände wie Halsbonbons oder Rasierklingen an die Haustür bringen lassen. Steht Ubers Logistik-Infrastruktur einmal, so sind noch viel mehr Anwendungen für Quasi-Echtzeit-Delivery denkbar. Eine „Kreuzung aus Lifestyle und Logistik“, so versteht sich das Uber der Zukunft.
  6. Mittelfristig will das Unternehmen damit auch noch den traditionellen Mietwagenmarkt obsolet machen – auf lange Sicht rechnen die Uber-Vordenker ohnehin damit, dass die ownership society zu Ende gehen wird, das eigene Auto in Städten und Agglomerationen überflüssig wird, weil Uber-Wagen zu einem vernünftigen Preis ständig verfügbar sind.
  7. Übrigens: Fahrer für die Uber-Flotte braucht das Unternehmen dann vermutlich nicht mehr. CEO Kalanick gilt als Fan selbstfahrender Autos. Bei denen ist eine weiteres Silicon-Valley-Unternehmen Vorreiter: Google. Über Google Ventures hat der Suchmaschinenkonzern übrigens mehr als eine Viertelmilliarde Dollar in Uber investiert. Kein Wunder, dass Google auch immer wieder als möglicher Käufer für Uber genannt wird. Den Investoren dürfte dieses Exit-Gedankenspiel gefallen.