"Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to give Waymo about $245 million in closely held stock to cut short a trade-secret trial, ending a high-stakes conflict that already cost the ride-hailing giant its top driverless car engineer [Anthony Levandowski] and threatened to embarrass the company."
The symbolism of this move is important for new Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi. It also represents a positive start for new legal head Tony West.
If Uber is shrewd about public relations it will now position and package itself as firmly in the post-Travis Kalanick era. During the trial, Kalanick was portrayed as one of the greed-is-good bad guys. In addition, his rabid ambition was labeled as too much out of the box.
As was clear at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the era of goodwill has ended for tech companies. They are being accused of everything from anti-trust violations to creating addictive digital devices. The latter was outed on "60 Minutes."
Psychologist Jean Twenge has argued effectively that such digital means of communications are causing serious emotional and social problems for those born between 1995 and 2017 - that is, Generation X or iGen. Here you can order Twenge's best-selling book "iGen."
Takeaway: Uber and Waymo were wise to settle. Tech is no longer viewed as good, not necessarily.
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