Report: Uber's Anthony Levandowski Fired, Due To Waymo Issue


Anthony Levandowski has now reportedly been let go by Uber. The confirmation of Levandowski's dismissal comes from an internal memo sent out to Uber staff today announcing the termination, as first reported by the New York Times. According to the details, the dismissal is one which sees Levandowski parting with Uber, with immediate effect. While the full transcript of the email has not been made public as of yet, it does seem to be the case that Uber has taken this decision due to Levandowski failing to help sooth the legal battle between Uber and Alphabet. With the email reportedly highlighting that Uber has spent the last few months "urging" Levandowski to assist with court requests and to help the court "get to the facts" which in turn, Uber states would have helped to validate the company's stance on its battle with Alphabet.

This stems back to an ongoing issue between Uber and Alphabet, which in many ways, directly revolves around the involvement of Levandowski. As Levandowski was brought on by Uber to head up its self-driving car ambitions, following his time at Google. However, it is this time at Google and subsequent move to Uber which led to Alphabet and it's own self-driving car division – now Waymo – taking legal action against Uber. As Alphabet and Waymo claim that Levandowski took a significant trove of documents based upon Waymo's underlying technology (most notably LiDAR), to Uber. With the suggestion being that the same technology was then used to further Uber's self-driving ambitions.

While that case is still ongoing, there had been some developments taking effect which do seem to have naturally led up to today's dismissal. The most noteworthy of which is that Levandowski had already stepped down as head of Uber's Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), and that a court had ordered that Levandowski comply with a court order – following an attempt by Levandowski to draw on the Fifth Amendment to avoid court order compliance. While Levandowski had already removed himself from the top position within the company's self-driving division, it was understood that Levandowski was still a part of the division in general, in a lesser role. Although, based on the current news coming through, that is no longer the case. With Uber effectively having now severed all employment ties with Levandowski.

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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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