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Uber Threatens To Do 'Opposition Research' On Journalists 299

Nerval's Lobster writes A senior executive at Uber reportedly told a Buzzfeed writer that the company "should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company." As detailed by the executive, Uber would spend a million dollars on the effort, which would involve "four top opposition researchers and four journalists," and dig into personal lives and families. Uber has pushed back against the report, insisting that it's never done opposition research, but the idea of any company engaging in such practices seems more like something Nixon would have dreamed up at his worst than a strategy by a "disruptive" startup.
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Uber Threatens To Do 'Opposition Research' On Journalists

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  • I mean, what do you say other than draw needless comparisons to make it appear worse or better depending on whatever prestanding beliefs about Uber being good or bad you have.

    PR denial is obnoxious too.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Why?
      In case you have not noticed the press is not what it used to be. Many sources like FOX and MSNBC have been willing to try truth for eyeballs. Even sources like NPR will spin news a bit. With NPR I am willing to say that is probably just human nature.

      • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @10:00AM (#48410571) Journal

        You might want to go read this:
        http://pando.com/2014/11/17/th... [pando.com]

        Back in 2012, Paul Carr first raised serious concerns about the company’s view that both riders and drivers are disposable commodities in an all-out Randian battle to maximize profits. He uninstalled the app when he wrote that piece, and he started a drumbeat of press around these concerns.

        Then, in 2014, Carmel DeAmicis exposed that an Uber driver accused of assault had a criminal record that should have been uncovered by the background checks Uber claimed to do. She further documented a “blame the passenger” culture at the company when such complaints came up.

        It started to snowball: An investigation at The Verge exposed cut throat competitive tactics that the company has taken against its primary competitor Lyft.

        Then, a few weeks ago, I wrote a story about the outrageous sexism woven deeply into the culture of the company. We’ve seen it in the company’s PR team discrediting female passengers who accuse drivers of attacking them by whispering that they were “drunk” or “dressed provocatively.”

        We’ve seen it in CEO Travis Kalanick’s comments that he calls the company “boober” because of all the tail he gets since running it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          So?
          I am not saying Uber is or is not a bad company.
          What I am saying is that the press is not beyond question.

          • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @10:30AM (#48410859) Journal

            And what I'm saying is that it IS a bad company. And the press pointing that out doesn't make them bad.

          • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @11:21AM (#48411335) Homepage

            So? I am not saying Uber is or is not a bad company. What I am saying is that the press is not beyond question.

            That is all great and dandy, but that has nothing to do with trying to find dirt in journalists' personal life. Dig into journalists' public records, things that could show, say, they are not objective, but on payroll by, say, cab unions or Uber's competitors.

            Something relevant and noteworthy to the public. Personal life, in particular fishing for personal life "dirt" as they call it? We already went through Mccarthyism and past ad-hominem practices such as the FBI trying to defame MLK.

            Ad-hominems are supposed to be an invalid form of counter-argument, or that's ok when it comes to journalists?

        • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

          She was thrown onto the vehicle's bonnet, leaving her bruised, while the rear wheel of her bicycle ended up under the car. Once she freed her bike, she tried to obtain the driverâ(TM)s insurance details, but he drove away.

          Passers-by took a note of the car's registration, and while Uber said it was one of its vehicles, it added that it bore no responsibility for what had happened since the driver is classed as a 'partner' and not an employee.

          Cyclist says Uber system flawed after cab hits her from be [road.cc]

          • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

            At least in this article I don't see what they did so wrong. The driver was at fault, it was reported to the police, Uber says it deactivated his account pending investigation of the incident. Sounds like, at least by their statements, they are doing the right thing.

            I assume the driver had insurance which he carried separately, and its his car so he can and will drive whether he has an uber account or not.... so I really don't see what more they would expect? This all seems relatively straightforward about

            • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @01:11PM (#48412215) Homepage

              I assume the driver had insurance which he carried separately

              Did he have the proper kind of drivers license and insurance? Did anybody verify that or check before he started giving rides?

              In many places, you need a commercial/chauffeur license to drive a car for hire. And you need special insurance for your commercial liability.

              So, big deal, Uber suspended his account.

              Uber is basically washing their hands of it, and saying "driver's fault". Unfortunately, the people who passed the laws are saying "yeah, but you see, you're the one dispatching rides by people without the proper license and insurance, which is why we said you can't be here in the first place".

              So, basically Uber is encouraging people to be taking paid rides from people who don't have the proper license, and those people out in the wild get into accidents, then we discover they don't have proper insurance, and then Uber just says "wow, not us".

              The problem is the Uber service isn't legally compliant to begin with.

      • Many sources like FOX and MSNBC have been willing to try truth for eyeballs.

        Do you mean *trade* truth for eyeballs, or are you implying the normal mode of operation is for news sources to lie all the time?

    • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @10:21AM (#48410767)

      TFA's summary appears to attempt to imply misogyny emphasizing that a female reporter was a target, which ignores 75% of the journalists allegedly mentioned by the exec. (see next)

      The female journalist discussed made a public accusation: Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.” She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote. I can't find any journalism to back the statements of the reporter so can't determine if this is an actual issue. The claim of misogyny and Uber working with a French escort service is valid or an attack? (The article Buzzfeed links is a pissing match, not journalism. Google shows no articles by the person or magazine given my search terms[I tried many].)

      The Buzzfeed article is based on off the record comments made at a private dinner. In a statement through an Uber spokeswoman, Michael said: “The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner — borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for — do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach. They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them.”

      Was the dialogue guided to this point by the reporter? Valid question considering we see the one statement buy the exec and no other portion of the conversation. Context for dialogue is pretty critical.

      The person that said these things was also, obviously, a scummy person for saying things.

      Let's face it, Uber and Lyft have both been taking a ton of heat from "journalists". Some is legitimate, but the over emphasis of certain events and location "bans" is more related to them not paying the toll to the right gatekeepers, and not systemic problems.

      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @11:08AM (#48411207) Homepage

        I don't care if she wrote that she feels Uber is in league with Satan , Doxxing Journalists Is Never Acceptable. And the reason for the focus on her in particular is because, and I quote, "In particular, Michael wished to target Pando founder Sarah Lacy after her publication’s repeated attacks against Uber." It says that right there in TFA. And in the article linked by the TFA, wherein Emil apparently went on at length about his rage against Sarah.

        Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. Lacy recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.” She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote.

        At the dinner, Michael expressed outrage at Lacy’s column and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held “personally responsible” for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted.

        Then he returned to the opposition research plan. Uber’s dirt-diggers, Michael said, could expose Lacy. They could, in particular, prove a particular and very specific claim about her personal life.

        It's such a F'ing gamergate attitude. Female journalist finds something you do sexist? Reveal details of her personal life - that'll teach the f*ing c*** to shut up, right?

        • by HBI ( 604924 )

          So, "journalists" get to make noise in the sphere of public opinion but are to be immune from the negative repercussions of said attention? Quite a deal for them, I say. Especially when many take money to alter the focus of their writings, or otherwise have a political axe to grind.

          Your attitude is naive in the extreme.

        • by s.petry ( 762400 )

          Doxxing Journalists Is Never Acceptable.

          I don't think you gave much thought to this comment before you made it.

          My point was not that the Uber exec was in the right, I don't even think it was implied. My point was that other people are also wrong. When the kids are all bickering about who did what and why so and so pushed so and so you don't just ground Billy. If you are a fair person you will either ignore the all of the arguments, or you try and sort out which pieces of which stories might be true and correct all of the misdeeds.

        • It's such a F'ing gamergate attitude. Female journalist finds something you do sexist? Reveal details of her personal life - that'll teach the f*ing c*** to shut up, right?

          Maybe, it kind of depends on if she is or isn't a f*ing C***. It is entirely possible that she is. I have no idea, I know nothing about her beyond this slashdot page ... which means I know nothing about her.

          We can establish that she, assuming she deleted her app because Uber hired a French escort service, EXTREMELY biased and unbalanced. She didn't delete the app because they were forcing people to be sex slaves. She deleted the app because she doesn't agree that a certain group of people are performing

      • by akirapill ( 1137883 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @12:06PM (#48411717)
        So you were against Uber's garbage tactics until it turned out the critic was a feminist? Seriously some people just lose it as soon as the 'F' word gets mentioned. For proof see the other replies to your comment.

        The female journalist discussed made a public accusation

        Please, please learn the difference between a fact and an opinion. It's the writer's opinion that working with an escort service is misogynistic. I personally don't agree with that, but guess what that's well within her rights to publish. There's no burden of proof on her to back that up. And the fact that Uber worked with an escort service is not under dispute - it was widely advertised by - get this - Uber. I'm noticing a very disturbing trend these days where anti-feminists start frothing at the mouth about "journalistic bias" wrt opinion pieces whenever a feminist viewpoint is put forward, using the language of libel or fraud in order to silence people who have every right to publish their (non-libelous) thoughts.

        Was the dialogue guided to this point by the reporter? Valid question considering we see the one statement buy the exec and no other portion of the conversation. Context for dialogue is pretty critical.

        I'm sure you think Anita Sarkeesian faked her death threats as well. Or rather, whether or not she did is a "valid question"

      • Was the dialogue guided to this point by the reporter?

        Considering the executive apologized to her personally, fuck yes it was.

        Making all your bullshit logical shortcircuits laid bare.

  • What Uber Douchebags.

    Have we reached the point where companies might consider smear campaigns against critics as normal business?

    Have they been learning from the politicians and lobbyists?

    Pathetic.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      I blame the media though. The "news" media has never exactly been objective but once upon a time they at least offered up most of the facts and some reasoned analysis. This gave them some appearance of objectivity which sat better with folks and also put most of the facts out there so you could reject their conclusion and form your own.

      Now almost all the news media is very closely tied to the interest of their corporate masters. So much of the media now at least appears to have axe to grind, even when it

      • Re:Wow ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @10:03AM (#48410603) Homepage

        Put yourself in Uber's shoes, you are running a company and getting somewhat hostile media treatment

        See, my problem with this statement is that on the surface Uber is the source of their own bad PR.

        I've seen some of the news coverage about them trying to move into a couple of cities. The cities are saying "OK, you need a license, the proper insurance, and you must do these things".

        Uber says "Yarg, we're not a taxi company, we're teh interweb company, we won't play by the rules".

        At which point you think, "wow, so these guys figure they're exempt from regulations". And then you don't have a lot of sympathy for them.

        If you blatantly say that you don't believe the law applies to you, you deserve all the bad PR you get. Your magic interweb business model doesn't exempt you from that.

        You try to rebut them but you are simple not given the same air time the critics are. What should you do just bend over an take it, let them damage your business. I for one would much rather erode peoples faith in the source, and opposition research is how you do that!

        See, I think this "whole smear the source, screw the facts" mentality is complete and utter crap.

        It's just public muck raking to obfuscate the issue. In some cases, they simply refuse to acknowledge the basis for the criticism and pretend like their magical unicorns exempt them from reality.

        So, I'm of the opinion anyone who engages in "opposition research" is probably a lying, evil, twisted sack of shit of a PR guy, who engages in a "win at any cost" level of bullshit.

        It has nothing to do with facts, just digging up dirt to discredit them and distract people from the fact that, yes, you do actually eat babies.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          "In some cases, they simply refuse to acknowledge the basis for the criticism and pretend like their magical unicorns exempt them from reality."

          This tactic has worked for Paypal for a very long time. No surprise that others are trying the same.

        • I've seen some of the news coverage about them trying to move into a couple of cities. The cities are saying "OK, you need a license, the proper insurance, and you must do these things".

          Uber says "Yarg, we're not a taxi company, we're teh interweb company, we won't play by the rules".

          At which point you think, "wow, so these guys figure they're exempt from regulations". And then you don't have a lot of sympathy for them.

          Assuming the regulations are actually halfway reasonable. People were saying they were obviously set up to protect the existing taxi system which has already "bought into" the exorbitant fees.

          As an engineer-type mindset, if there's an easy way to do something more efficiently and regulations are standing in the way, I blame the regulations, not the new solution for sufficiently stupid values of regulation (obviously safety regs are a different matter).

          • Well, these are issues about licensing and proper insurance. Legally, you are required to have a commercial license and proper insurance, not be some guy driving around with neither.

            These aren't regulations designed to protect the taxi industry. These are regulations which have been imposed on the taxi industry by the city. You know, to ensure the people are registered, accountable, safe, and can demonstrate a maintenance record on the vehicles.

            So when Uber says "oh, nonsense, we don't need to do that, w

            • When you put it like that, yeah, sounds reasonable. I'm not anti-regulation in general; I just want them to make sense and not be obviously corrupt.

          • Assuming the regulations are actually halfway reasonable. People were saying they were obviously set up to protect the existing taxi system which has already "bought into" the exorbitant fees.

            Which does not make them unreasonable on face. Having a robust taxi system is a good thing. Generating revenue for the city by selling licenses is a good thing. Whether the assurance of having taxis survive without a race to the bottom is worth interfering in the free market is outside the scope of conversation.

            As a

            • And as an engineer, you are clearly able to determine the far reaching implications of policy changes, know which regulations are "stupid" and therefore ignorable, but unable to communicate that to your fellow citizens in order to get the regulations modified?

              Look, you want to change the law, we have a process for that.

              Or is changing regulations via democracy one of those "regulations" you feel exempt from?

              What the hell? What did I say that gave you the impression I was advocating extrajudicial resolution?

              To steer your nose directly into the point, if a regulation is dumb (I am allowed to have an opinion, and allowed to attempt to convince others to share it), I'm in favor of reforming or eliminating the regulation via whatever agency is in charge of handling it.

        • Well if the reports of them promoting using an escort service are untrue then it's actionable, otherwise they should have known they would have had some backlash and outrage especially from the media. Now if they attack the media directly smearing the personal lives of journalists chances are it would be even worse for them than the journalist.

          As a company anything they do that offends a large enough number of people is going to get covered, and the more often they do it the more the press is going to watch

      • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
        I tend to agree about the media. This doesn't really pass the sniff test for me, it sounds more like the Uber exec in question (Emil Michael who apologised almost immediately for his comments) simply shot his mouth off in front of a Buzzfeed journalist out of frustration at the way Uber is being treated by some members of the media and this in no way represents the official company line. Foolish, sure, but when did the media ever care about a little verbal faux pas when you can take it out of context and
      • Come on, they admitted to the remarks, as well as saying that since the reporter had deleted her Uber app, she should be held responsible for all women who get raped by taxi drivers [buzzfeed.com]:

        At the dinner, Michael expressed outrage at Lacy’s column and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held "personally responsible" for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted.

        Then he returned to the opposition research plan. Uber’s dirt-diggers, Michael said, could expose Lacy. They could, in particular, prove a particular and very specific claim about her personal life.

        Of course, once the turd hit the fan, the guy fesses up - "sort of" [techcrunch.com]

        According to Buzzfeed, Michael said Uber should spend “a million dollars” on a smear campaign that would hire opposition researchers and journalists to dig up dirt on journalists, researchers who would look into the personal lives of those critical to the company. In particular, Michael wished to target Pando founder Sarah Lacy after her publication’s repeated attacks against Uber.

        On Monday Michael’s tone changed. He was apparently just really frustrated and all that stuff he said about digging up personal details about those in the media didn’t actually reflect his views on the matter. In response to the Buzzfeed piece, Michael issued the following statement:

        "The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner – borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for – do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach. They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them."

        Come on Emil Michael, tel us how you REALLY feel. Oh, you already did. Oops.

        • "borne out of frustration during an informal debate"

          Translation: He likely talks like this to other Uber execs and slipped into "internal exec talk mode" in front of the reporter instead of staying in "reporter in range mode." The apology was a PR move and doesn't represent how he really feels.

      • "...Now almost all the news media is very closely tied to the interest of their corporate masters."

        This is the business model of Brazilian TV network Rede Globo [wikipedia.org]... In addition to outright fraud, crimes against the country and currently they are trying to put into practice a "white coup" (coup without the violence part). So much to the oath of journalists to display only the truth.
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        If he was ale to talk to someone to make threats, he could have used the same time to rebut. Also, there is this thing called the internet, and they could ahve posted rebuttals.
        The media isn't one group think. Fox news love to suck business cock, and they would give them the time.

        Personal attacks against critics make the media worse, not better.

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          If he was ale to talk to someone to make threats, he could have used the same time to rebut.

          There is no proof of that, not that there is proof of any of this. My point was the media acts as a gatekeeper. Had he responded with a reasoned argument citing statics about the rate at which assaults by uber drives actually compares to those at the hands of other public and private transportation operators and staff there is no guarantee at all Lacy would print it.

          What is a better headline? "Some uber drivers caught assaulting passengers!" or "There is a vanishingly small risk your uber driver could a

    • Have they been learning from the politicians and lobbyists?

      Of course - who do you think has been attacking them for the past couple years? Now, they will say that Uber started it by threatening their 17th-Century business model of cartels and thugs, but only one actor is holding the guns.

      There's an outside chance that some journalists 'investigating' Uber full-time are completely independent and not colluding with the thugs, but let's not be naieve about how the government-media complex operates.

      That said,

  • by linuxrunner ( 225041 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @09:39AM (#48410437) Homepage

    I don't use Uber, never have, never will so I have no skin in this game. But... it may not be such a far fetched idea.

    Look at what happened recently with Gruber and the Obamacare fiasco. The MIT professor Gruber was being paid (and paid handsomely) by HHS... He wrote Op Eds in newspapers which were then picked up by the Obamacare supporters as independent confirmation that it was a good thing. Here was an independent MIT professor saying this was good. No where did anything cite that he was a major player in forming it nor did they say he was being paid by the administration. It was a full blown circle jerk to fool the people.

    Bring it full circle back to this article --> An article comes out against Uber and slamming the company. Well a little money and research into that "independent journalist" might just find that they're getting paid by X lobby, or Y company. Maybe their best friend is in charge of the Cabbie Union (I would imagine there is such a thing).

    So go after the journalists family and children? That sounds like F.U.D. to me. But maybe check in to be sure the journalist is legit and not some shill like Gruber? Yeah... Might be time we start doing that before we all get fooled again.

    #gamergate anyone?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wiredog ( 43288 )

      Except that, in GamerGate, the journalist in question never reviewed the game, which itself was never reviewed in the publication in question. Thus, the entire GamerGate "controversy" was built on lies told by the GamerGate hashtaggers.

    • I don't use Uber, never have, never will so I have no skin in this game. But... it may not be such a far fetched idea.

      Look at what happened recently with Gruber and the Obamacare fiasco. The MIT professor Gruber was being paid (and paid handsomely) by HHS... He wrote Op Eds in newspapers which were then picked up by the Obamacare supporters as independent confirmation that it was a good thing. Here was an independent MIT professor saying this was good. No where did anything cite that he was a major player in forming it nor did they say he was being paid by the administration. It was a full blown circle jerk to fool the people.

      No it wasn't. Everybody knew he'd been involved in designing the law, what wasn't sufficiently disclosed is that he was still under contract to do consulting work. And even that lack of disclosure wasn't a "full blown circle jerk to fool the people" because the contract wasn't a secret so such a ploy would obviously backfire.

      Most likely it was something stpuid like he got it into his head that the papers had a very different standard for conflict of interest and he didn't think non-PR consulting work qualif

    • If Ms. X is being paid by opponents of Uber, that is NEWS. If Ms. X likes purple vibrators, besides for her boyfriend learning what to get her for Christmas, WHO CARES! Trying to find dirt on a reporters personal life is vastly different than exposing a reporter being paid by your competitors. Reporter: Your taxi company is violating the law by ignoring rule number 7a.1 Uber: I saw you looking at porn
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 )
    to make that sort of threat to journalists all the Uber executive's lives must be squeaky clean.
    • Nope, they just have enough money that they don't care what someone says about them. What's the worst that happens, they have to vacation on their yacht til the media forgets about it?

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @09:56AM (#48410551) Journal

    This is the same company who set up operations to have people call a competitor then cancel the call later, thus costing the other company money.

    The story was posted on Slashdot a while back which included a discussion of how burner phones were used so the same person could call multiple people.

    Now we have this. Instead of reviewing the complaints and saying they will look into the issues, Uber's response is to criticize the reviewer.

    Why admit something is wrong with your company when you can deflect the subject to the person doing the complaining?

  • Don't make threats. Do it.

  • This is a Lobster story that is not a dicevertisment!

    Has /. been sold to someone else and I didn't know about it?

  • But GM was not able to dig up any dirt on Nader. While Nader apparently was able to dig up lots of dirt on GM.
  • cabs, which are licensed and don't double or triple their rates whenever the fuck they see fit. fuck uber.

  • Executive in a company tells a journalist that they are about to spend 1 million dollars to harass a woman who posted an article critical of them? Every single word in those quotes seems cherry picked to cause the most outrage possible. And it is not something told to them by some angry ex-employee, or anythingl No a executive goes up to a journalists and tells them this.
  • of critics is only used to scare people away.
    Counter the points of critics, that's discourse. Attacking their personal lives? that's threatening and intimidation.
    Uber is no better then the mob.

    Screw em. I don't care how good their business model might be, or how convent it is.
    I wont use them.

  • by McGruber ( 1417641 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @10:35AM (#48410905)

    Uber is a Pump and Dump (on the Chumps) stock scheme.

    Last week, Uber put out a press release that said they were valued at $30 billion. Several media outlets published articles with that $30 billion number; here's an example: According to various sources, Uber is about to go for another financing round with the intention to raise an additional $2 billion [bidnessetc.com]

    In a new round of funding, Uber is likely to raise another $2 billion in addition to the $1.6 billion it has raised to date. The new round will value the San Francisco-based ride-sharing service at a whopping $30 billion, up from its $18.2 billion valuation from the last round of funding.

    Think about that $30 billion "valuation" for a moment, and compare it to the valuations of other transportation companies. Norfolk Southern railroad has a market cap of just over $35 billion, while Delta Airlines has a market cap of just over $36 billion.

    Uber is a mobile app. Does anyone here think that app is really worth 85% of a railroad that *owns* 21,500 route miles of fiber optic right-of-way (with railroad tracks on top) in 22 eastern states? Does anyone really think a ride sharing app is really worth 84% of an airline that operates 5,400 flights daily over an international network that includes 333 destinations in 64 countries on six continents... and has its own mobile apps?

    • I'm amazed sir, you exhibit an oft lost commodity in today's high stakes, no-holds-barred, bullshit-on-the-halfshell, media soaked lie-fest:
      common sense
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Uber is a mobile app. Does anyone here think that app is really worth 85% of a railroad that *owns* 21,500 route miles of fiber optic right-of-way (with railroad tracks on top) in 22 eastern states? Does anyone really think a ride sharing app is really worth 84% of an airline that operates 5,400 flights daily over an international network that includes 333 destinations in 64 countries on six continents... and has its own mobile apps?"

      It's the New Economy! The old rules don't apply anymore. This time it's d

    • Does anyone really think a ride sharing app is really worth 84% of an airline that operates 5,400 flights daily over an international network that includes 333 destinations in 64 countries on six continents... and has its own mobile apps?

      Yes because eyeballs and "social" and disruptive. And data. At least that's what these fast growing startups are being valued for these days.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by FooAtWFU ( 699187 )

      With all due disrespect to Uber's extant valuation projections, you've used airlines as an example. Besides the fact that people travel on the ground more than they travel through the air, airlines are notorious for having razor-thin margins, spotty track records of profitability and a tendency to go broke on short notice. Their capital stock is a double-edged sword. You may have heard a joke: "How do you become a millionaire in the airline industry? Well, you start out as a billionaire..."

      The real quest

  • Same as the old. What a scumbag.
  • I am sure there are many bigger companies that do it. Sometimes using contractors of contractors to create deniability and to create sacrificial scape goats. I would be greatly surprised if this Uber honcho is the first one to think of smearing and trashing journalists who are critical of them. The bigger companies are older, wiser and they realize the liability involved if got caught. So they must be doing it lot more discreetly, spending way more money than necessary to insulate themselves from the actual
  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @11:13AM (#48411251) Homepage

    At the Waverly Inn dinner, it was suggested that a plan like the one Michael floated could become a problem for Uber. Michael responded: “Nobody would know it was us.”

    "Emil Michael is the new SVP of Business at Uber. Most recently, Emil was the Chief Operating Officer at Klout (where he continues to serve on the Board of Directors) and before that was SVP of Field Operations at Tellme Networks (sold to Microsoft in 2007). He has been an active investor and advisor in the Silicon Valley since 1999 before which he was an associate in Goldman Sach’s Communications, Media and Entertainment Group in New York City. He also served as a White House Fellow to the Secretary of Defense from 2009 through 2011. He is a graduate of Harvard with an AB degree in Government and Stanford Law School where he received a JD."

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