Waymo

Way Mo’ money, Way Mo’ problems

File this one under “things that get Silicon Valley hot and bothered.” The most intriguing trial to take place in California since that time OJ definitely didn’t murder Nicole, pit two of tech’s juggernauts against each other.

Waymo, Google’s self driving vehicle unit claimed that Uber stole trade secrets by purchasing Otto, an autonomous car startup founded by a former Waymo employee. That employee Anthony Levandowski, was a self-driving vehicle savant who was reportedly targeted by then-Uber-CEO Travis Kalanick for his know-how.

But before Judge Judy could hand down a stern yet comedic daytime-TV-worthy ruling, the two companies settled after only 4 days of trial. A tentative settlement would have given Waymo $500M worth of equity in Uber but as the trial began it looked like Uber had at least a snowballs chance in hell.

In return for stronger language barring Uber from using its technology (read: flux capacitor) to advance its autonomous vehicle fleet, Waymo settled for $245M worth of Uber equity.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Isn’t there a better industry to disrupt than one where most people are paid minimum wage and its biggest value-add to society is that it gets drunk people home? You know, like fighting cancer.”