Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow

Did Microsoft throw its credibility under the bus by investing in UBER?

Microsoft is investing heavily in its clouds services. Companies and governments have to hand over their most valuable and sensitive assets to Microsoft. For organisations, it is not only important to know in which jurisdiction Microsoft cloud services operate, but it is also important to know Microsoft’s corporate values in regard to local rules and laws with respect to privacy and confidentiality. Microsoft’s 100 million investment in UBER shows Microsoft’s contempt for the rule of law and local regulations. Something one could not ignore when considering the use of Microsoft cloud services.  

There has been a lot of discussion about the disruptive company UBER. The image of the company is carefully framed as a rebellious start up from California. With 9 billion in cash investments, the company is part of the big US corporate family. UBER is definitely not a small rebellious startup.
It is naive to believe that the company started a disruptive service without realising, it will run into problems with local law enforcement. Before 9 billion cash is invested, investors know the business model, including the legal challenges and implications. The UBER business model is based on deliberately undermining the rule of law and tax evasion, investors and business owners are absolutely aware of this before they pour 9 billion into the company.
The company proclaimed that it has a very efficient model of ride sharing, we used to call hitch hiking. In reality the company exploits a world wide network of illegal taxi services, based on tax and local transportation law dodging.

The money invested in UBER is spent on a very smart campaign in disguise. We will not be surprised if the Kony 2012 campaign is the model for the UBER campaign. Many so-called UBER fans on the internet seem to see a positive difference between an UBER taxi drivers and regular taxi drivers. Somehow they feel compelled to share their UBER experience with the internet community. Anyone with common sense could understand that in the end, UBER taxi drivers will be the same as the legal drivers.

In countries where law enforcement is only applied to regular legal taxi companies, we saw spontaneous eruptions of violence against UBER services. In many countries and cities the service is deemed illegal and in some countries, there even is an indictment against the CEO of UBER.

UBER is a company that challenges law enforcements by running an illegal business, for that reason, decision makers should be surprised to read that Microsoft invested 100 million in a company that disregards the rule of laws so blatantly. Politicians, decision makers and software security experts should not ignore Microsoft corporate values. Especially in relation to Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure, application owners have to ask themselves how they could entrust their most valuable assets to a company that shows such disregard for the law.

Microsoft Said to Invest About $100 Million in Startup Uber  Source Bloomberg

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