Uber is running scared of Juno, a NYC competitor that's kicking its ass

Juno is a "driver-friendly" rideshare service that competes with Uber by paying its drivers more and giving drivers the ability to pick up a fare, get them to install the Juno app, and give them a discount.

These are both no-go zones for Uber: the company makes it virtually impossible for a driver and passenger to choose to ride with one another (the app has to pair them) and it is committed to squeezing drivers for every penny in order to justify its crazy, sky-high valuation.

Uber has trumped up a pretense for punishing drivers who are experimenting with Juno, threatening to kick them off for having the Juno app on their phones (the company characterizes this as "advertising for Juno" because the Juno app displays a logo on drivers' lockscreens). However, this tactic has limits, because Uber's business-model depends on the pretense that drivers are "independent contractors" (and thus not entitled to benefits or protections), and this is incompatible with Uber telling drivers what they may and may not do.

When a driver is offline, Juno devices default to an image of the logo and then a button that says "Invite (35%)" — referring to the current rider discount. Kruger said he has no other images or mentions of the company in his car. (A previous version of the Juno app featured the discount more prominently. Juno CEO Marco Talmon said the company changed it as part of a larger revamp of the app sometime in October.)

According to Uber, the company has confirmed with the TLC that advertising rider discounts is in violation of rule 80-15G in addition to its own terms of service. The company also said they believe that there is an ongoing TLC enforcement investigation into Juno's advertising practices.

TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg said he could not confirm or deny that either is true. Marco said that Juno is not aware of any kind of TLC investigation.

Uber is deactivating New York drivers for 'advertising' for rival Juno
[Johana Bhuiyan/Recode]