Daimler Maneuvers To Avoid Uber-Like Controversy
German automaker Daimler AG (USA) (OTC: DDAIY) entered the pick-up and ride-sharing industry controversy last week by announcing it had bought two smartphone applications.
The company announced its moovel GmbH subsidiary has acquired mytaxi, an app that books taxis, along with Texas-based RideScout, another app that lets users search and compare ground transportation options.
"Daimler is positioning itself to take advantage of this evolution by offering car-sharing and taxi, or taxi-like, services," Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Benzinga.
Robert Henrich, CEO at moovel GmbH, made sure people understood the new acquisitions were not attacks on established taxi operators and services.
"Quite the opposite, we would like to invite the taxi operators to work in close partnership with moovel and mytaxi to exploit the potentials and opportunities offered by mobile Internet services," he said in a press statement. "In this light, the coming months will see us concentrating intensely on close collaboration with the taxi operators."
Analysts say Daimler –- which Reuters noted has a huge client base in the taxi industry with its Mercedes-Benz autos -– is working hard to avoid the regulatory issues that San Francisco-based Uber and similar high-tech transportation services are currently facing.
A variety of taxi services have complained that Uber drivers, who do not pay local taxi licenses and can vary their fees depending on demand, are at an unfair advantage.
Some analysts see Daimler's move as part of the evolving shift going on between automakers and the new, high-tech personal transportation systems.
"Daimler is working with the existing taxi industry to avoid the legal complications experienced by Uber and Lyft," said Brauer. "Some might argue that incorporating these emerging transportation systems into an automaker's future business plan is just as important as the product plans they've operated under for decades."
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