The New York Times reports that Uber was nearly kicked off the Apple App Store after the ride-hailing company was caught breaking privacy rules.
“Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of Uber, visited Apple’s headquarters in early 2015 to meet with Timothy D. Cook, who runs the iPhone maker. It was a session that Mr. Kalanick was dreading,” wrote The New York Times‘ Mike Isaac. “For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.”
“But Apple was onto the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared,” he continued.
“So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Cook allegedly said to Kalanick during the meeting, before adding that the CEO must “Stop the trickery… or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.”
The New York Times added that because a removal of Uber from the App Store would result in the loss of the app’s primary market and millions of iPhone users, Kalanick was forced to adhere to Apple’s rules from then on.
“In a quest to build Uber into the world’s dominant ride-hailing entity, Mr. Kalanick has openly disregarded many rules and norms, backing down only when caught or cornered,” The Times claimed. “He has flouted transportation and safety regulations, bucked against entrenched competitors and capitalized on legal loopholes and gray areas to gain a business advantage. In the process, Mr. Kalanick has helped create a new transportation industry, with Uber spreading to more than 70 countries and gaining a valuation of nearly $70 billion, and its business continues to grow.”
It has been a rough year for Kalanick and Uber. In January, #DeleteUber started to trend on Twitter after the company refused to become involved in a taxi strike against President Trump’s travel ban. Uber had announced at the time that surge prices were temporarily halted in order to attract customers, while other taxi companies protested and refused to pick up people from JFK Airport.
In response to the move, ride-sharing service Lyft donated $1 million to the ACLU and released a statement against President Trump and in support of refugees. The boycott movement launched ride-sharing service Lyft to the top of Apple’s App Store and bombarded Uber with one-star reviews.
The protest eventually led Kalanick to resign from his position on President Trump’s business advisory group, though not before another controversy took place just weeks later.
After an Uber driver started to shout at Kalanick, who was acting as a passenger, the Uber CEO started to argue with him, unaware that the incident was being caught on tape.
In the video, “The driver in a dash cam tells Kalanick, a passenger, that ‘people are not trusting you anymore,’ and complains that rates for drivers have fallen,” before the Uber CEO responds to the driver, claiming, “Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!”
Kalanick later apologized for the incident, declaring that he needs to “grow up.”