Uber and Macron : a love story

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protests in France against Uber

So it seems that Macron has two passions in life : teachers and big businesses. We have to admit, Uber and Macron, it’s a love story.
It can be Rotschild or Uber, he isn’t faithful (don’t worry Brigitte, you’re safe, L’Oréal and Lilianne are out of the picture).

 

The Uber Files

The leak

A guy gave away some files from Uber, including 124 000 emails and memos to the Guardian.

And that was a stupid move, because the Guardian is not a good secret keeper, and they wrote an article, and now everyone is pissed at Uber.

Of course, you expect this mistake to come from an intern. Never trust an intern !

 

Actually, the guy was Mark MacGann, the previous head of policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Head of Policy”, nice name for a lobbyist.

 

France

Uber arrived in France in 2012. On the 18th of September 2014, the law Thévenoud was voted to restrict the use of VTC. It required VTC to have a clean criminal record, and 250 hours of training. UberPOP de facto considered illegal, since it doesn’t require any training.

The company would not stop the service until a year after that.

Macron’s game

Macron and Uber

The leaked communication shows that on the 30th of September, a few days after the vote, the CEO and Head of Policy were secretly meeting with Macron.

It seems that Macron was already working with Uber to have them cancel UberPop, in exchange for lightened VTC regulation.

In the end, Uber sent amendements to Luc Bélot, and then Macron would support it.

 

Why someone would need to negotiate to have an illegal service removed is still puzzling to us.

What did Macron push ? Reduce the training time for to VTC from 250 hours to 7 hours. Uber could massively recruit for his VTC service UberX and close UberPop. How convenient.

We must state that there was no communication that led to Macron receiving anything in exchange for his lobbying for Uber. It seems that he honestly believed it was the correct thing to do: deregulate the market.

 

Why should you care ?

You should care because :

  • A private company was working secretly with elected officials to profoundly change laws. One official made a decision and push it in complete secrecy, without any counter power.

 

  • They were using investors’ billions to subsidise rides, buy the media and lobby officials. In 2016, they planned to spend $90 million on lobbying and media in France alone.

 

  • The documents suggest that Uber offered money to influence officials and paid academics to have research supporting them.

 

  • Prices were indeed much lower than taxis, because they were operating at a loss. Basically, burning money so that consumers push to have them approved. Once they dominate the market, they can raise prices.

 

  • They had very aggressive tactics, pushing the governments, taxis and VTC drivers to the edge, to get what they want.
    An example is when the CEO is being told that violence during a VTC protest would occur. He simply answered, “I think it’s worth it. Violence guarantees success”.

 

They were so aware that they were operating illegally, that they had a “kill

switch button”. If officials raided their offices, the computers would go dark, preventing any information from being given to authorities.

 

If you’re wondering what was Uber’s official response : we acknowledge mistakes but will not make excuses for past behaviour not in line with our present value.
Basically: So what ?!