Uber relies on Google Maps for its business and spent $58 million on it over three years

  • Uber filed to go public on Thursday, and its paperwork shows that Uber spent $US58 million on Google Maps between 2016 and 2018.
  • Uber sees Google Maps as “critical” to its business, it says in the filing.
  • If Google and Uber were to end their agreement, this could harm Uber’s business because other mapping services may be expensive, inferior, or just not exist.

Uber filed to go public on Thursday, and its S-1 paperwork revealed that from the beginning of 2016 to the end 2018, Uber spent some $US58 million on Google Maps – a function that is “critical to the functionality of our platform,” built in as it is to the company’s apps for riders and drivers alike.

The filing shows that Uber has been working with Google to use Google Maps for Work, its business-grade version of the mapping tool, since October 2015. In the filing, Uber says that it’s turned to Google becuase it’s the only one that meets its needs all over the world.

“We do not believe that an alternative mapping solution exists that can provide the global functionality that we require to offer our platform in all of the markets in which we operate,” the Uber S-1 said.

Still, Uber writes: If Google Maps suddenly gets less reliable, doesn’t provide adequate support, or hikes prices, it might have to lean on an alternative solution. Uber warned that such alternatives could be expensive, inferior, or not available at all, which could harm its business.

Read more:

Uber gave CEO Dara Khosrowshahi $US45 million in total pay last year, but it paid its COO even more

According to the filing, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, owns some 5% in Uber. David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer at Alphabet, also served on Uber’s board from July 2013 to August 2016.

However, the relationship between the two has been tumultous: A landmark lawsuit between Uber and Alphabet’s Waymo over self-driving car technology ended in a settlement in which Alphabet received $US245 million worth of Uber equity.

This season’s spate of big tech IPOs also highlights the reliance of modern tech companies on products and services from the major platform providers: Pinterest’s IPO filing revealed that it’s paid over $US309 million to Amazon Web Services since 2017, while Lyft has its own commitment to AWS that averages out to some $US8 million a month.

More on Uber’s massive IPO:

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