back to article Waymo: We've got a hot smoking gun in Uber 'tech theft' brouhaha

Waymo has proof Uber execs knew their star engineer Anthony Levandowski was in possession of designs stolen from Waymo well before Uber acquired Levandowski's self-driving vehicle startup. This is according to an unsealed filing Waymo presented to a San Francisco court Wednesday to support their motion to gather more …

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Trollface

Some staff have even posted to Facebook insisting RMS Tikalanic return to the hot seat with the hashtag HeWillAlwaysBeMyCEO.

#StockholmByTheBay

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How cute...

Now a "spontaneous" grassroots campaign.

Why do I find it difficult to believe in the spontaneity for some reason...

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Re: How cute...

Did nobody ever tell them: "when you're in a hole, stop digging."?

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Re: How cute...

To which I reply, "All you have is a shovel and the sides are too soft. The only way out is to dig."

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#HeWillAlwaysBeMyBRO

Do any of these employees asking for Kalanick back happen to be women?

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Alert

Okay...

"TK, no matter his flaws (everyone has them) was one of the best leaders I have seen," the petition reads. "He worked day and night creating this company to what it is today."

Yes, he made Uber what it is today. Seems to me that is exactly why he needs to be gone, so Uber can, perhaps, become something less toxic.

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Re: Okay...

The problem from Ubers point of view is that if Uber is only being "disruptive" by claiming that laws don't apply to it and playing very fast and loose and encouraging everybody else to do the same. That culture is why you visibly have problems like discrimination, sexism and a lawsuit from Google about stealing trade secrets, and those things are probably the tip of a larger iceberg.

Get somebody in who follows the law (and forces everybody else to) and the company is toast, and everybody there knows it.

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Joke

Re: Okay...

...those things are probably the tip of a larger iceberg.

That's right. It's just the tip.

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Anonymous Coward

Were the Uber execs doing a lot winking and other gestures when they said they didn't want any Waymo data at Uber?... They must have thought it was a strange coincidence that the guy who told them he had a bunch of stolen self driving car data then was able to create something that looked a lot like Waymo's self driving car tech over the next month or two from scratch.

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Anonymous Coward

Also, who acquires a company or hires someone who openly admits that he stole a ton of confidential IP from a previous employer and is apparently excited about it?

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Anonymous Coward

Hiring from the competiton - unprecedented?

Is this an unprecedented occurence or does it routinely happen in the corporate world?

The obvious example for me is Cutler being recruited by MS from DEC and taking the source code (and concepts, and team) so that MS had ownership of what became Windows NT.

Allegedly.

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Facepalm

"No, don't bring any hard evidence on-site. We just want what's in your head ;-) ;-)"

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"Also, who acquires a company or hires someone who openly admits that he stole a ton of confidential IP from a previous employer"

Exactly, most rational folk would be really concerned that the stolen material would be incorporated into their solution, and this would leave them exposed. Everyone recycles code, and nobody likes re-inventing the wheel (pun intended) so it's a no-brainer that stolen IP is going to bleed into new projects to some degree.

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Re: Hiring from the competiton - unprecedented?

"... what became Windows NT"

Which spawned the other rumour that Windows NT was so named because WNT is one more advancement (alphabetically at least) on VMS.

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Re: Hiring from the competiton - unprecedented?

The events unfolding between Waymo, Uber, and Otto aren't unprecedented, but it's not just "hiring from the competition," either: this is a case of employees (plural) going rogue, stealing from their former employer, and selling to an unscrupulous competitor.

Look at the timeline (condensed):

* Dec 2015-Jan 2016: Levandowski downloads thousands of files from Waymo's servers, and (unsuccessfully) attempts to cover his tracks. During this time, he and another Waymo employee (Ron Lior) solicit other employees to jump-ship.

* Jan 2016: Levandowski and Lior resign, form 280 Systems (which will become Otto), and meet with Uber execs. Uber awards Levandowski 5.3 million shares of Uber stock, which begin vesting the day after he leaves Waymo.

* Feb 2016: Levandowski and Lior officially form Otto. They sign various agreements with Uber, and Uber and Otto begin the process for Uber to acquire Otto.

* July 2016: Multiple employees leave Waymo for Otto. Some downloaded more documents on their way out.

* Aug: 2016: Uber announces its acquisition of Otto.

There were some other shenanigans in there, involving companies called Odin Wave and Tyto Lidar. Odin Wave's registered address was a property owned by Levandowski. A manager at Tyto Lidar is a friend of Levandowski. The two companies merged, were acquired by Otto, and then Uber.

From an article at Axios, "In 2013, [Odin Wave] reportedly ordered a custom part from a vendor used by Google that was very similar to Google's. Google employees questioned Levandowski but he denied any involvement with the company."

There's a comprehensive timeline at axios.com, which includes links to supporting documents (legal filings and other news articles): https://www.axios.com/the-tortured-history-of-the-uber-waymo-legal-fight-all-in-one-place-2349566425.html

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Re: Hiring from the competiton - unprecedented?

Reg -- we could really use a popcorn icon. I know I'm a little behind, but this sort of s* is too good to miss.

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Uber Nation

Time for Uber to start its own reclusive State, NK style.

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Uber Alles

"he worked day and night creating this company to what it is today."

He Bastard!

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Ubertox

He worked day and night to create a business where apparently, theft, disregard of local laws, disregard of emoyees, disregard of just about anything that normal people would regard as decent.

Nice guy! Not!

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"Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Uber employees – with the support of management – are circulating a petition to have Kalanick brought back as CEO. The letter urges investors to shake off media pressure and bring T-Bone back for another run.

"TK, no matter his flaws (everyone has them) was one of the best leaders I have seen," the petition reads. "He worked day and night creating this company to what it is today."

Some staff have even posted to Facebook insisting RMS Tikalanic return to the hot seat with the hashtag HeWillAlwaysBeMyCEO."

Sorry but I call bull sh*t on that one, it is way too convenient for my liking. Smells like a publicity stunt to me.

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> Smells like a publicity stunt to me.

While it sure seems suspicious, isn't one of the lessons of the Internet that there is no proposition, however weird or unhealthy, that you cannot find some support for out in internetland?

And also we might consider that the place where one is most likely to find people that revel in a toxic, immoral culture is smack bang in the middle of that culture.

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Monty Python

Uber did not want any Google information

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!

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The petition might be legit

It would be impossible for Uber to have the toxic reputation it does unless a significant portion of the staff are immature jerks. There are undoubtedly plenty of Uber-ites enough like Kalanik to like and identify with him. Those types would genuinely want him back. So this might be a legitimate employee-driven petition, from the ones who helped make Uber the cesspit it seems to be.

Of course the non-jerk employees are horrified.

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Re: The petition might be legit

"Of course the non-jerk employees are horrified."

What, both of them?

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