Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has stopped one of its board members from Google parent company Alphabet from attending board meetings, The Information’s Amir Efrati reports.
David Drummond, Alphabet’s SVP of corporate development and an Uber board member since 2013, has been barred from meetings for about a year as competition mounts between the two companies, Efrati writes.
The situation is similar to when Google CEO Eric Schmidt left Apple’s board after his company started working on Android, its own mobile operating system similar to Apple’s iOS, except that Drummond hasn’t given up his board seat. At least not yet.
The relationship between the two companies dates back to 2013 when Alphabet’s investment arm, Google Ventures (now GV), poured a reported $300 million into Uber. That’s when Drummond came on board.
But since then, both companies have ramped up their self-driving car efforts, making them look more like rivals than ever before. Uber just bought a self-driving truck company founded by former Googlers and plans to get its self-driving Uber vehicles on the road this month.
During press rounds for that announcement, Kalanick repeatedly mentioned the need to catch up to Google’s efforts (not calling out the company by name but referring to “our friends in Mountain View”).
Efrati also reports that David Krane, Uber’s board observer, has been getting less information about the company as well.
Bill Maris, formerly the head of GV, which invested in Google, recently said on stage that his team still has meetings with Kalanick and SVP of business Emil Michael, and that they also talk to Uber employees regularly because “we have lots of friends who work there.” In the last year there has been something of a Google-to-Uber exodus that included several high-profile Googlers.
He added that GV hasn’t sold any of its Uber stock and doesn’t plan to.
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