Uber’s Brilliant Strategy to Make Itself Too Big to Ban

The question of how Uber would spend its billion-dollar investment was never really much of a riddle. More rides in more places has always been the plan.

But with its ten-figure cushion, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing startup can be more cunning about how it tries to get huge. Uber wants to grow as quickly it can, and right now, it’s chasing that goal by undercutting the competition on price—even if it loses money in the process. This isn’t a novel approach among tech startups, for which profits aren’t valued nearly as much as popularity. But for Uber, playing in the new realm of the so-called sharing economy, the stakes are higher, since so many entrenched interests are trying to regulate it out of existence. With not just success but survival on the line, Uber has even more incentive to expand as rapidly as possible. If it gets big enough quickly enough, the political price could become too high for any elected official who tries to pull Uber to the curb.

Yesterday, Uber announced it was lowering UberX fares by 20 percent in New York City, claiming the cuts would make its cheapest service cheaper than a regular yellow taxi. That follows a 25 percent decrease in the San Francisco Bay Areaannounced last week, and a similar drop in Los Angeles UberX prices revealed earlier last month. The company says UberX drivers in California (though apparently not in New York) will still get paid their standard 80 percent portion of what the fare would have been before the discount. As Forbes‘ Ellen Huet points out, the arrangement means a San Francisco ride that once cost $15 will now cost passengers $11.25, but the driver still gets paid $12.

http://www.wired.com/2014/07/ubers-brilliant-strategy-to-make-itself-too-big-to-ban

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