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Superiors With Questionable Ethics

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Superiors with questionable ethics

The attitude of the tech giants to the traditional press has always been pretty much this: couldn’t care less.

If Twitter had something to say, it would say it on Twitter. Ditto the others.

Uber did engage, but only at the very highest level. As a hack, you might get called into a meeting with the editor and the Uber lobbyist, but this was to make you aware of what good friends everyone was.

Newspapers have been way too close to Uber and way too in awe of the rest of the tech giants for an embarrassingly long time.

Maybe that is changing. Today The Guardian gave Uber both barrels. The company “broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments” it reports.

Executives joked that they had become “pirates” and conceded that Uber is “just f***ing illegal”.

Uber doesn’t seem to have pushed back that much, settling for this: “We have not and will not make excuses for past behaviour that is clearly not in line with our present values.

“Instead, we ask the public to judge us by what we’ve done over the last five years and what we will do in the years to come.”

So it has fessed up, said sorry and taken the risk of legal claims that arise from that seemingly on the chin. Like they had ignored the lawyers and taken advice from PR people.

Mates tell me that Uber is much more expensive these days, perhaps because it is treating the drivers better.

I wouldn’t know, I can never find one anymore.

I suppose it is possible that in order to get here, Uber had to be beastly, so it could shake-up the market and disrupt old certainties.

Maybe.

The bit that stuck with me most was the statement from Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, a rich and very powerful Uber boss.

He regrets “some of the tactics used to get regulatory reform for ridesharing in the early days…I was young and inexperienced and too often took direction from superiors with questionable ethics”.

If he felt unable to push back, almost no one could.

Press release of the day

Used car prices are up 41% on pre-pandemic levels says this from Auto Trader.

The average used car is at £17,252, which seems shocking to those of us who have never spent more than £2000 on a car.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s Director of Data and Insights, said: “Although the huge growth in used car prices we’ve been tracking over the last few years may continue to soften over the coming months, there’s certainly no indication in current data that prices are set to tumble.”

There are good charts by make and model.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Does the Heathrow crisis show it is a mistake to have important infrastructure owned by foreigners?

2) How low could the pound go?

3) Which taxes do the Tory candidates want to put up, not down?

4) Is the update from Grafton reassuring the City or unnerving it?

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