For the past week, Naked Capitalism has run a series of articles by transportation industry expert Hubert Horan on the economic shenanigans of Uber, which cooks the numbers it shows investors, drivers and the press to make it seem like something other than a black box that uses arrogance and lawlessness to make a bet on establishing a monopoly on transport in the world's major cities.
Horan started with four articles on Uber's economics: Understanding Uber’s Bleak Operating Economics; Understanding Uber’s Uncompetitive Costs; Understanding False Claims About Uber’s Innovation and Competitive Advantages and Understanding That Unregulated Monopoly Was Always Uber’s Central Objective -- today, he finishes (?) up with a fascinating Q&A with the commentators who've followed the series.
To simplify just a bit, the Uber strategy was to (1) jumpstart rapid growth with driver pay premiums that would get lots of drivers to switch from traditional operators; these premiums were real but not as large as they seemed because drivers hadn’t figured out how to properly deduct vehicle costs to determine true take home pay, and by willful falsehoods (our drivers make $90,000) (2) gradually cut back driver pay once Uber was clearly a large established play by eliminating incentive programs and increasing the percentage of fares Uber retained; but drivers can’t do anything about pay cuts because they’ve locked themselves into car payments (3) At some point—and according to the study quoted in the second article in the series, it may have already happened—true Uber take home pay (after vehicle costs) is no better or slightly worse than what Yellow Cab paid before (4) Uber achieves industry dominance, drivers have no alternatives, and take home pay falls to (or even below) minimum wage level.
With trustbusting in the air and Big Tech in the crosshairs, Bloomberg's Dina Bass reflects on the antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s, which the company bungled badly (but still survived, thanks to a judiciary in thrall to a bizarre theory of antitrust that has no problem with monopolies).
KPMG is one of the "Big Four" accounting firms: that means that whenever a plan for a business or a public project has a box that says, "Make sure no one is cheating," it means that you hire KPMG or one of its rivals to come in and check the books and make sure that […]
A year ago, Trump FCC Chairman (and former Verizon exec) Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality, leveraging illegal, fraudulent industry dirty tricks to ram his rule through the process; all along, he claimed that Net Neutrality was a drag on investment, competition and service improvements, and that Americans would see immediate benefits once he was done […]
When it comes to large computer systems, not one of them is fully secure. Even with constant updates to the platforms that keep vital networks humming, there’s always a back door. And companies are willing to pay handsomely to effective bouncers that can keep an eye on them. Call them ethical hackers or white hat […]
So you’ve visited the Kennedy Space Center every year. You’ve watched “The Right Stuff” for the 95th time. There must be something to do while you’re waiting to join Space Force for the next manned mission to Mars or the moon. Here’s a combo that should raise a salute from any fan of space or […]
Looking for a new tablet? If you haven’t upgraded in a while, it might be time to check out the latest iPad Pro for two very good reasons. First, the 2018 model is a real workhorse. The 12X Bionic chip processor means it can handle any task you set out for it, and still have […]