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Blunt and dismal assessment of Uber as ‘almost worthless’ comes from robo-taxi promoter

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Billionaire entrepreneur Larry Ellison slammed the rideshare company Uber as “almost worthless” and unable to withstand the challenges from newer competitors.

The founder and executive chairman of Oracle offered a blunt and dismal assessment of Uber during a private meeting with a group of entrepreneurs this week, according to a report in Barron’s.

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Ellison spoke with guests at his San Francisco home about topics ranging from WeWork to Tesla, which is about to launch one million robo-taxis next year in direct competition to companies like Uber and Lyft. The 75-year-old minced no words when discussing Uber during a Q&A session with his guests.

Despite Uber’s $57.5 billion market capitalization in May after its initial public offering, the company was deemed “worthless” by the billionaire.

“They have nothing,” he reportedly said. “No technology. And no loyalty.”

The San Francisco-based company saw its stock prices drop almost 20 percent since it first began trading and Ellison is not convinced that its latest efforts to cut ride discounts and refocus on taking on competitors is enough to save it, noting that Uber does not own its own cars and does not control drivers who are considered contractors.

Besides, Ellison apparently quipped, Uber has an “app my cat could have written.”

He also criticized Uber’s efforts to capture market share from Lyft as “idiotic” and a waste of money.

Ellison joined Tesla’s board in December and reportedly told his guests Friday that the company’s self-driving cars could lower taxi fares by two-thirds when the robo-cars are rolled out next year.

Uber has been plagued with ride safety issues, such as an incident last year in which a 27-year-old Philadelphia Uber driver raped an intoxicated passenger. The Egyptian national was convicted last month of sexually assaulting the woman during what should have been a 15-minute car ride to her home.

Uber has just been dealt another critical blow in California where a landmark bill this week could affect over a million workers in the state by requiring the company to classify drivers as employees.

Uber is joining forces with Lyft and DoorDash in a $90 million effort to fight the bill if it becomes law with a ballot proposal.

“In California alone, reclassifying drivers as employees could cost Uber and Lyft $3,625 per driver each year, Wall Street analysts at Barclays have estimated. All the associated costs, including Medicare, FICA, and other payroll items, could total $290 million,” Business Insider reported.

“We think an adverse ruling on the contract workforce issue would potentially bankrupt both Uber and Lyft,” Wall Street analysts at Barclays said in a note to clients.

Frieda Powers

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