The Uber vs. Waymo trial took a turn for the the weird today when testimony revealed that Otto, the company whose acquisition is at the center of this lawsuit, was entertaining bids from other suitors.
For a bit of background, Otto is the self-driving truck company that Anthony Levandowski co-founded with Lior Ron. Both men previously worked at Google/Alphabet/Waymo — Levandowski on autonomous vehicles (first at Google X, the company’s moonshot division, and then at Waymo, which was spun out as an independent subsidiary business of Alphabet, Google’s holding company) and Ron at Google Maps.
During proceedings, Ron, Otto’s co-founder with Levandowski revealed that the company was not just in acquisition negotiations with Uber — which eventually acquired the company (the event that triggered this lawsuit) — but was also entertaining bids from Uber’s chief competitor in the U.S. Lyft.
There’re no details on how far along that discussion went with Lyft, but in some alternate universe, there’s a world where Otto was acquired by Lyft — and this lawsuit may never have happened.
In that world, Waymo’s lawyers would be potentially battling it out with Lyft attorneys over the acquisition — and Alphabet could have spent its $1 billion doubling down on Uber’s efforts in ride-sharing.