In 2013, when Uber focused on operations using properly-licensed black cars, CEO Travis Kalanick wrote a lengthy post assessing Lyft’s “ridesharing” using ordinary drivers:
Over the last year, new startups have sought to compete with Uber by offering transportation services without traditional commercial insurance or licensing. Uber refrained from participating in this technology sector — known as ridesharing — due to regulatory risk that ridesharing drivers may be subject to fines or criminal misdemeanors for participating in non-licensed transportation for compensation.
In most cities across the country, regulators have chosen not to enforce against non-licensed transportation providers using ridesharing apps. This course of non-action resulted in massive regulatory ambiguity leading to one-sided competition which Uber has not engaged in to its own disadvantage.
[G]iven existing regulations, the Lyft/Sidecar approach is quite aggressive. The bet they are making is two-fold:
1. Uber, already a market leader, is too weary to enter the non-licensed market in the face of existing regulatory scrutiny.
2. Regulators for the most part will be unable to act or enforce in time to stop them before they have a critical mass of consumer support.
Kalanick specifically criticized incomplete enforcement and ambiguity that let some companies take a lead through aggressive interpretations rather than superiority on the merits:
[T]he lack of real clarity has created massive regulatory ambiguity. Without clear guidance or enforcement, this ambiguity has led to one-sided competition in which Uber has not engaged to its own disadvantage. It is this ambiguity which we are looking to address with Uber’s new policy on ridesharing.
After I posted an article quoting and discussing Kalanick’s post, Uber removed that document from its site. But Archive.org kept a copy. I also preserved a screenshot of the first screen of the document, a PDF of the full document, and a print-friendly PDF of the full document.