Uber’s board of directors rejected a proposal from Waymo Tuesday, calling for the ride-sharing company to settle the two company’s ongoing legal dispute with a $500 million payment, according to Reuters. Waymo is Alphabet Inc’s autonomous driving firm.
However, the companies reached an agreement on Friday in which Uber will pay just $245 million in its own stock, and promised not to use any trade secrets stolen from Waymo in future autonomous driving hardware or software.
Waymo had claimed 1.9 billion in damages in a trial over trade secrets that Uber allegedly stole from the company. According to the Verge, sources close to the case said that the earlier proposal included tougher conditions for Uber, apparently in relation to the company’s research and development of hardware for self-driving vehicles.
Another source said that Uber first approached Waymo with a $500 million settlement proposal, but without offering assurances about the use of their trade secrets. This was the foundation for negotiations, which finally wrapped on Friday with the newer settlement deal.
Uber had rejected another settlement proposal offered by Waymo last year, before the trial began, requesting $1 billion and a public apology from the ride-sharing company. Under former CEO Travis Kalanick, Uber rejected the deal at the time.
The settlement is being hailed as the best possible outcome for Uber, and as a success for their new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, according to Fortune. The company’s image suffered from multiple scandals last year, most of them tied to the company’s culture and operations under Kalanick.
Khosrowshahi said that to his knowledge, no Waymo technology is currently in use as part of Uber’s current autonomous vehicle efforts, which means these efforts should emerge relatively unscathed. The settlement will also halt any further disclosures about the company under Kalanick that would have continued as part of the trial. This will give the company a chance to rebuild its brand under new leadership.
Furthermore, the settlement does not require a public admission of guilt from Uber.
If the trial had concluded with a loss for Uber, the company would have likely faced new, stringent restrictions on further autonomous vehicle research.
Since the settlement will be paid in Uber stock, Alphabet will now be invested in the future of the ride-sharing company. Some observers, such as Johnathan Shieber of TechCrunch, have suggested that this may lead to collaboration between the two companies in the future – something that, very recently, seemed nearly unthinkable.