Uber, as part of its ongoing court battle with Waymo, has obtained an order to depose Alphabet CEO Larry Page, with the principal aim of having him testify under oath about alleged conversations that he had with former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The company's deposition order also extends to David Drummond, Alphabet's chief legal officer, with a focus on the reasons that Waymo did not formally partner with Uber before the events that set the current court case into motion had a chance to happen. The catch is that the deposition order can be thrown out if Waymo agrees not to let Drummond testify at all during this case. The depositions have been granted, barring any complications or conflicting orders or motions. Both of the depositions requested by Uber have been granted for only four hours, though Page and Drummond can stay on the stand longer if they so wish. Additionally, a previous order for Waymo to furnish Uber documentation concerning a partnership with Lyft has been thrown out.
Though the information Uber alleges to be seeking is quite relevant to the matters of the case, Waymo has nonetheless fiercely opposed the ordered depositions. The company has stated that it does not intend to call either party as a witness on Waymo's side, but the fierce opposition to their deposition may signify a desire to keep both of the prominent and relevant Alphabet figures free to testify on Waymo's behalf at any time during the case. One potential implication of this, should Waymo successfully oppose Uber's deposition requests, would be that Page would have a chance to refute anything that Kalanick says on the stand, whereas Page ending up deposed before Kalanick testifies would not only see him answering to Uber's cross-examination, but could also give Kalanick a chance to instead contradict what Page says during his deposition.
The case thus far has seen Waymo granted a partial injunction against Uber operating self-driving car research, and has all but forced Uber to fire Anthony Levandowski, the engineer who allegedly stole trade secrets. A public relations crisis within Uber, focused on company culture, saw CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down with no clear successor as he left, leaving the company to seek out a new leader with no training from Kalanick to go into immediate active operation. While the current state of affairs looks to be stacked against Uber, the embattled ridesharing company could use today's deposition order to cast doubt upon Waymo's earlier claims of collusion between Uber and Levandowski long before the latter left Waymo.