Google claims Uber execs were meeting with Levandowski long before he left Google, that his entire leaving Google to form Otto (which would be soon bought by Uber) was planned alongside Uber.
Now Uber is saying "Hey, we didn't know anything about that, but I think you guys really should go after this guy here". Somehow, given Uber's reputation as a moral and ethical company, I am not shocked by this development.
Edit: And another thought- why wouldn't Levandowski now walk into the justice department and say "Give me immunity, and I'll give you all the evidence that Uber was in on this plan from the start". If Uber are going to screw him over, why wouldn't he return the favour?
Yeah, in official communications, of course. I haven't been following the story that closely, but I wonder if things are actually adversarial and turning into a blame game behind the scenes at Uber, or whether they are just executing on a united defense strategy.
I get that Uber is a toxic company, but I'm not sure if immunity is a good idea.
"If you steal on behalf of Big Corp and gets caught, you can just rat out Big Corp and get off scot-free."
Is that really the sort of signal that we want our court systems to send out?
Levandowski may not be the mastermind behind the whole thing, but his going along with it is the only reason it was even possible. And he made a ton of money from it. There's no way he's going to get immunity.
In this case, I'm convinced that Levandowski will not get away scot-free.
obviously the level of immunity will vary based on the circumstances of each case, but again, we absolutely want to encourage this type of behavior.
What? Levandowski can't be a whistle blower here because he had a central role in the (alleged) criminal activity. The case wouldn't even exist without him.
If the allegations are true, the best he's going to get for turning on Uber is a plea deal.
And ofc, the big corp is clearly the preferred target, since they're much more likely to repeatedly commit crimes (and at larger scales) than the individual
Cleanest way to beat a tagteam is to convince them they're enemies
I don't think immunity protects you from civil damages, though.. just the criminal penalties. So, still not a great trade for Levandowski if he makes a deal.
The biggest problem with their defense is that they have for so long been so loud and obnoxious about flaunting laws. It's easy to believe Google's claims.
Not sure I could stomach that for too long.
Has Trump not gotten around to firing the US attorneys who were investigating his boy Travis?
At that point, what can Google really hope to get? Alsup won't give them a preliminary injunction without more evidence, and they'll have largely run out of levers to pull. I'm sure they won't just give up immediately, but I think that all they'll really do is ratchet up legal bills a bit higher.
They'll basically have to hope that losing Levandowski is a big blow for Uber.
I am not a lawyer.
Is it though? Google's claim is that Levandowski was meeting with Uber execs long before he left Waymo to form Otto. Now they're throwing Levandowski under the bus.
What happens if tomorrow, Levandowski turns around and says "Yes, I did everything that Google claims- and Uber told me to do it". What if he provides evidence of those meetings, all those things. This stuff has been referred to criminal courts now, and Levandowski is at risk of possible jail time.
He's no fool, and now he knows he has no one protecting him. Why not screw over Uber if they're willing to do the same to him?
I don't really agree with the characterization of Uber throwing Levandowski under the bus: they've been very scrupulous with him, and basically they're only threatening firing because Alsup twisted their arm. But let's say that Levandowski feels betrayed.
First: Note that Levandowski is super rich (Google paid him north of $100M). It's not like losing his job is going to prevent him from living a life of luxury forever.
Second: If he maintains his 5th Amendment protections, even if he does get prosecuted, what's going to happen? It seems like there's pretty good evidence that he stole the files, but without something more, how much in the way of damages will the prosecution be able to prove? Is this something that the US Attorney even wants to bother with?
That seems like a pretty narrow scenario. You have to believe that:
a. Levandowski feels betrayed by Uber (I don't think he has cause to)
b. Uber did in fact know about the theft when they hired Levandowski.
c. Kalanick straightforwardly said something about the theft that was so damning that it makes for a good case a year later, or provided some kind of documentary evidence to Levandowski, rather than wink-wink nudge-nudging.
d. A US Attorney is interested in offering this kind of deal (that is, giving one white-collar criminal a good deal in order to go after... a somewhat richer and more famous white-collar criminal).
Which would put them right back where they are now.
Also, there are probably a whole bunch of legal maneuvers they could use to unseal the laptop and get it separated from the 5th amendment protection.
I'd say that the bad press they'd generate through a protracted legal process in an attempt to drive Uber into the ground may be strategically wise.
Also the ill will they'd amplify would lighten the competition for talent between the two companies.
Google is going to have to look at Uber tech and see how similar it is to the documents Levandowski allegedly stole. They will have to depose Uber engineers, read Levandowski's emails at Uber, etc.
They'll be able to get emails, technical docs, and deposition testimony via the court system.
CEOs of delaware corps have to do whats in the best interest of the company. It is probably not in the best interest of the company to reveal documents to a shareholder for the purpose of being successfully sued by that shareholder.
Its probably entirely impossible for a random investor to demand shit.
I think that the worst scenario for Uber is actually if they really do think that Levandowski himself (not his stolen files) are uniquely amazingly valuable. Which may be true.
It's weird in the digital age to say information needs to be "returned" (although they did also say "and all copies"). Still, I'm reminded of the old "getting my song back fucker" quote:
I can see why Uber would want to protect him and hang on to him. Still if he did what Waymo alleges he did, he should still have to answer for that, likely in criminal court.
The 2005 Grand Challenge was divided into two parts: the national qualification event, where you went around an obstacle course on a closed raceway in an effort to qualify for a limited number of race slots, and the real race, which was a brutal 150 mile course through some pretty gnarly desert terrain.
Blue Team never made it past the NQE, which is why everyone's obsession with the motorbike makes no sense to those of us who actually made it to the real deal.
The Smithsonian's decision to memorialize Levandowski's engineering mediocrity is, to say the least, puzzling.
Who is he connected to?
Kalanick "Hey Anthony, here's how it's going to go down. We're going to ask you to return the documents. But, don't do that. Continue with our strategy of taking the 5th for everything. We'll then fire you.
Levandowski "You're going to fire me after all I've done for you?"
Kalanick "Yeah, don't worry, though. When all of this dies down we'll hire you back on as a consultant and double your salary to show our appreciation for not ratting on us."
Levandowski "Sounds good, boss. Same time tomorrow?"
Kalanick "Naw, let's ice these walks for a while to throw those dogs off of our scent"
Let him also be its poster-child as he is crucified/thrown-under-the-bus.
Levandowski isn't a poster child of greedy, anything-goes, etc. He's not a poster child of anything, full stop. 99% of the country doesn't recognize his name or the only company he ever founded. Most Silicon Valley engineers couldn't pick him out of a lineup. He's not even the most famous alleged code thief of the last few years, because that's Sergey Aleynikov.
Fricken 26 days ago [-]
Kalanick is a Napoleonesque figure, a great conqueror who doesn't know when to pull back on the reigns, because he knows nothing else. Our memories are short, we're skewering him for being exactly the kind of animal that not to long ago most everyone was rooting for.
I just want to drop by to make it absolutely clear that there's many, many, many of us who've always hated Uber/Kalanick and seen right through the facade. You shouldn't assume "most everyone" holds the same opinions as you.
I think that's what the poster is talking about.
I don't think you can attach this kind of behavior to a particular generation. It is however becoming more prevalent in the tech sector in Silicon Valley, even in comparison to other industries.
This is a fight between Google and Uber, companies worth billions. Come on with the "bro" shit.
That is almost a perfect parody of the whole bro-programmer shtick.
especially the comments. Some of the commenters are lawyers, or at least people who understand the law and how it relates to this particular case very well.