Uber is seeking to depose Google co-founder and Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page as part of its latest move in the legal fight against Waymo. The San Francisco, California-based tech giant recently adopted a new defense strategy in a case that saw Alphabet's self-driving unit accuse it of stealing protected LiDAR designs, with the firm now seeking to prove that the motivations behind Waymo's lawsuit aren't as straightforward as the company originally presented them. More than two years ago, Uber was seeking to collaborate with Google — one of its earliest investors — on self-driving technologies, but that potential partnership wasn't in Page's interest for a certain reason, Uber claims, adding how an explanation of Page's reasoning can provide important insight into Waymo's views of its autonomous driving competitor.
According to an early 2015 email sent by Kalanick to Google's Senior Vice President and former Uber board member David Drummond, Uber was notified that Google is planning to launch its own self-driving venture in 2015, with Kalanick being seemingly upset by that turn of events following repeated calls for collaboration with the Mountain View, California-based company. Uber's lawyers said that a potential deposition of Page could reveal some ulterior motive that Waymo was pursuing when the firm sued Uber for trade secret theft earlier this year. The ride-hailing firm is looking to depose Page over a lunch he had with Kalanick, Drummond, and Uber's former business head Emil Michael in March 2015, stating that the answers provided by the Alphabet CEO are key to understanding the nature of its legal fight with Waymo and could significantly influence its eventual outcome.
In a subsequent clarification from Uber sent to business Insider, the company explained that it's seeking answers on why Page didn't contact Kalanick when learning of thousands of sensitive documents that were supposedly stolen by ex-Googler Anthony Levandowski who went on to found self-driving truck startup Otto which was then acquired by Uber last summer, with Levandowski becoming the head of Uber's self-driving unit before ultimately being fired over the ordeal outlined above. Ultimately, Uber wants to prove that Waymo's case has no merit and is an attempt to slow down a competitor in the self-driving industry that's projected to be worth trillions of dollars in the coming decades. An update on the situation is expected to follow in the coming months.