Two fights and one questionable acquisition have me scratching my head, wondering what exactly is going on at GOOG headquarters.
Fight # 1
Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving company, first launched its suit against Uber back in February, accusing the ride-sharing business of misappropriating some of Waymo’s trade secrets.
Waymo’s complaint alleges that former Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving the company to set up his own company, Otto, in early 2016. Otto was subsequently acquired by Uber in August of last year for $680 million in Uber stock along with the rights to 20% of future profits in trucking.
Levandowski was fired by Uber in May after ten months at the company for refusing to answer questions about Waymo’s allegations in an internal company investigation.
Now, with September almost complete, the trial between Waymo and Uber is scheduled to start Oct. 10, although Waymo’s asked for an extension to go through new evidence.
At stake in this trial is $1.9 billion in damages that Waymo’s seeking for a total of nine trade secrets it alleges were taken by Levandowski on the way out Google’s door.
I understand Waymo and Google trying to protect the integrity of its self-driving business, but much like major acquisitions, lawsuits take executives away from the task at hand and that always should be a concern for investors.
Let’s hope a couple of billion dollars is worth it.
Fight # 2
For this second dust-up, I turn to my InvestorPlace colleague Brad Moon, who recently wrote about Google’s fight with Amazon.com, Inc…