Uber Pays Waymo $245 Million to Reach Settlement On Trade Secrets

Uber also agreed not to use any of Waymo's technology for autonomous driving as part of the settlement | File

For Waymo, the settlement protects the technology that has vaulted it into the early lead in the self-driving auto market and provides a measure of personal vindication for Google co-founder Larry Page, who is now CEO of Alphabet Inc., the parent of both Waymo and Google.

As reported by BBC, Uber is now handing over 0.34% of its share which is worth around $245m (£177m) to Waymo.

A second source says that before the current settlement was reached, there was another offer with a higher equity value given to Waymo (around $500 million) and that had fewer constraints on Uber about the use of Waymo technology, but that Uber's board rejected that offer at a meeting Tuesday night.

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.

If the case had gone to the jury and Waymo had prevailed, it would have dealt a severe blow to Uber's efforts to widely deploy self-driving vehicles as part of its ridesharing operations - a field that also includes Waymo and other rivals. Waymo had been seeking damages of at least $1 billion.

"My job as Uber's CEO is to set the course for the future of the company: innovating and growing responsibly, as well as acknowledging and correcting mistakes of the past", Khosrowshahi said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the proceedings also highlighted correspondence from within Alphabet that showed that the company was fretful about as it bled talent and faced new competition. In four days of testimony last week, of which Kalanick spent three hours on the stand, it became clear how hard it would be to prove those claims.

Kalanick forcefully denied those allegations during his court appearance Wednesday, arguing that his pursuit of top-tier engineering talent was a way of advancing driverless technology and ensuring Uber's survival. "Through that lens, the acquisition of Otto made good business sense". Levandowski, who isn't a defendant in the lawsuit, refused to answer questions from Waymo and turn over documents, citing his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

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Behind the scenes, company officials admit, negotiations were taking place.

The lawsuit cost Uber precious time in its self-driving auto ambitions, a key to its long-term profitability.

Levandowski, who was on the list as a possible witness, left Google for his own startup called Otto, which was later acquired by Uber. Uber fired its self-driving chief after Waymo sued, and it is well behind on its plans to deploy fleets of autonomous cars in one of the most lucrative races in Silicon Valley.

"While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward", Khosrowshahi wrote.

Waymo sought $1bn (£760m) from Uber in settlement talks over the alleged theft of self-driving technology.

Kalanick remained adamant in a statement Friday that facts of the case were on Uber's side.

The case had hinged on whether Uber used the trade secrets to further its autonomous vehicle program.

Waymo filed its lawsuit almost a year ago, adding to Uber's woes with allegations of a bold high-tech heist orchestrated by its former CEO, Travis Kalanick, and a former Google engineer.

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