Uber’s scandal-ridden 2017 didn’t seem like it could get much worse. But, in light of the company’s self-inflicted wounds, Google and Lyft have decided to leap onto the dogpile, announcing today that they’re teaming up to build autonomous cars.
Unless you follow tech lawsuits closer, you might not remember Google and Uber have very bad blood. Waymo, a Google subsidary, has dragged Uber into court over self-driving car technology in a case that is not looking good for Uber. Lyft, meanwhile, is Uber’s bitter rival with a smaller network of drivers and the company has been feasting on Uber’s repeated scandals and stumbles. The deal, in public, is simply Waymo committing to work with Lyft on developing more self-driving and driver assist technologies, but it’s not difficult to read between the lines of two of Uber’s biggest rivals teaming up over the one topic Uber’s been desperate for some good news on.
The deal itself seems fairly prosaic: It’s not exclusive for either party, so both Lyft and Waymo are free to work with other companies to develop self-driving tech. But the real message is clear: Uber has made some powerful enemies, and it looks like no matter how it shakes out in the courts, it’ll have Google to deal with for a long, long time.