In its relatively short lifespan Uber has come to represent the glut of new-wave Valley start-ups whose mantra is to disrupt first, apologise later. Through an intoxicating mix of aggressive fundraising, bitter legal disputes and high-profile pricing surges, Uber is the ride-hailing app on everyone’s lips and has built a reputation for flattening its competition.
But the world’s most talked-about car-ride service has now been given a taste of its own medicine after it was compelled to file a law suit against its main competitor in India, Olacabs, over allegations that the Uber-wannabe created thousands of bogus Uber accounts used to order and cancel rides to snarl up Uber’s service in the country. 10 points for impudence; minus 10 for subtlety!
Uber claim that in total Olacabs created 90,000 phoney accounts, from which the company then booked 400,000 fake ride requests, creating havoc with Uber’s pricing algorithm, availability and booking network.
Cue corporate mud-slinging and verbal sparring.
In retaliation to Uber’s accusations, Olacabs came out swinging:
“It is not beyond our imagination that this is an effort to divert attention from the current realities of the market where Uber has faced major setbacks including the recent incidents of Uber vehicles being seized by the Government authorities,” the company said in a recent statement.
Uber, of course, knows full well the effectiveness of Olacabs’ alleged scheme as they themselves were caught using the trick on rival firm Gett in the U.S.
Whilst Uber is now a household name in the West, it has found the going tough in emerging markets across the globe, especially in India, where its attempts to gain a foothold in a huge growth-market has proved challenging. Olacabs, which allows users to order rickshaw rides and pay with cash, is the go-to ride-platform and has cemented its position as one of the world’s fastest growing companies.
This latest legal wrangling between Uber and Olacabs is further proof that Olacabs and their Asian counterparts, including Didi, Kuaidi, GrabTaxi, and Lyft will do whatever it takes to keep the Uber monster out of Asia.