Uber, Yandex Ride-Sharing Services Can Merge in Russia, Regulator Rules

Uber, Yandex Ride-Sharing Services Can Merge in Russia, Regulator Rules

Uber and Yandex’s ride-sharing businesses can merge in Russia, anti-monopoly regulator FAS ruled on Friday, but stipulated that the combined company not bar drivers from working for competitors.

Uber and Yandex, often referred to as the “Google of Russia”, announced plans in July to combine operations in 127 cities in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

San Francisco-based Uber has agreed to invest $225 million (roughly Rs. 1,454 crores) while Yandex will contribute $100 million (roughly Rs. 647 crores) into a new joint company in which Yandex will own 59.3 percent.

The two companies must allow their partners, drivers and passengers to work for or use competitors’ services and fully inform users of the legal entity providing the service, the FAS said in a statement.

Yandex said consumers would be able to use both Yandex.Taxi and Uber apps, while their driver apps will be integrated, leading to shorter passenger wait times, increased driver utilisation rates, and higher service reliability.

The companies aim to close the deal in January 2018, after the New Year holidays in Russia, Yandex said in a statement.

Moscow-listed Yandex was up 3.47 percent as of 11:23am GMT.

It said the anti-monopoly regulator in Belarus had also approved the deal while a decision by the Kazakh regulator was pending.


Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s Letter to Employees Leaks, Contains Rules for Sex With Co-Workers

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's Letter to Employees Leaks, Contains Rules for Sex With Co-Workers

The company had arranged for celebration in Miami in 2013
Uber CEO had reportedly sent out an internal email titled ‘Miami letter’
The email listed conditions for having sex with fellow employees
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is back under the scanner for inappropriate behaviour in an email written to his employees that has leaked and made its way to the Web. This email was written as a do’s and don’ts list for Uber employees heading to Miami in 2013 to celebrate a big milestone of the company. At that time, Uber had launched its service in the 50th global city and was taking 400 of its employees to Miami to celebrate the feat. The letter is said to have internally been called the ‘Miami letter’ and it contains explicit language including conditions on having sex with co-employees. This letter is now reportedly being scrutinised by two law firms as the company is under investigation for corporate misbehaviour.

The email is written in a rather boisterous manner with profanity used generously and has quotes like, “You better read this or I’ll kick your ass.” The email goes on to warn people to behave in Miami, and not do inappropriate things like drugs, vomit, and more.

There’s also a condition mentioned for having sex with employees, and in Travis’ words, “Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic “YES! I will have sex with you” AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command. Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate on this trip. #CEOLife #FML.”
This is a classic depiction of the existing startup culture, and the bro language that is usually used in conversations of executives and employees. However, Recode reports that this email has become relevant again after the company is under investigation about corporate misbehaviour at Uber.

The report states that law firms Perkins Coie and Covington & Burling are looking at whether the letter “helped created the party atmosphere that led to the sexism and sexual harassment, as well as general corporate mismanagement.”

You can read the entire ‘Miami letter’ published first by Recode below:

From: Travis Kalanick

Date: Friday, October 25, 2013


To: Uber Team

Hey guys, I wanted to get some important information out there. I’ve put together a Q&A that we can use when other folks ask what we’re doing here, and have some DOs and DON’Ts for our time here in Miami.

You better read this or I’ll kick your ass.


Q&A – If I’ve missed anything, or you just have a random question, please reply to all on this thread!

Q: What is Uber doing here?

A: Uber has recently rolled out to its 50th global city. We are celebrating this company milestone and others and have organized a local grassroots movement to help bring Uber to Miami. #MiamiNeedsUber

Q: What does the Chinese symbol 九 stand for?

A: 九 translates to the number 9. It is a symbol that has internal meaning at Uber but is something we do not discuss externally.

Q: Is this an Internet bubble boondoggle?

A: It’s a celebration of a major milestone for the company, as well as a chance for us to hold a company-wide retreat and organize our efforts globally. It’s the one time that everyone in the company can meet in person all the people we work with every day.


I have gotten a list of concerns from the legal department. I have translated these concerns into a clear set of common sense guidelines. I’ve also added a few items of my own.


1) No lives should begin or end at 九

2) We do not have a budget to bail anyone out of jail. Don’t be that guy. #CLM

3) Do not throw large kegs off of tall buildings. Please talk to Ryan McKillen and Amos Barreto for specific insights on this topic.

4) Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic “YES! I will have sex with you” AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command. Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate on this trip. #CEOLife #FML

5) Drugs and narcotics will not be tolerated unless you have the appropriate medicinal licensing.

6) There will be a $200 puke charge for any public displays on the Shore Club premises. Shore Club will be required to send pictures as proof.

7) DO NOT TALK TO PRESS. Send all press inquiries to Andrew – [email protected] Additionally, stay vigilant about making sure people don’t infiltrate our event. If and when you find yourself talking to a non-Uber (look for the wristband), keep confidential stuff confidential… no rev figures, driver figures, trip figures… don’t talk about internal process, and don’t talk about initiatives that have not already launched.



1) Have a great fucking time. This is a celebration! We’ve all earned it.

2) Share good music. Digital DJs are encouraged to share their beats poolside.

3) Go out of your way to meet as many of your fellow uberettos as you can.

4) If you haven’t figured it out yet, Miami’s transportation sucks ass. #Slang as many Miamians, drivers, influencers as you can as passionately as you can and let them know why Uber will make this great city an even better place. Every slang matters. #MiamiNeedsUber…

5) If someone asks to meet the CEO and Founder of Uber, kindly introduce him to Max Crowley.

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Tags: Uber, Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, Miami letter, Uber Investigation

Bad News For Online Businesses: Trump May Reverse Net Neutrality Rules

Under the previous administration, the net neutrality debate got heated. And the decision then to keep the rules could be flipped under Trump.President Donald Trump’s new administration has allegedly signed off on a policy approach that could completely remake the Federal Communications Commission and reverse net neutrality rules for online businesses.

Last February, the FCC produced a landmark ruling that declared the Internet was a utility, and that access consequently could not be prioritized to favor certain web content. According to the federal agency, such a prioritization — say for those able to pay a higher fee — would break net neutrality rules.

The need for that decision arose after service providers allegedly sought to pursue so-called Internet “fast lanes” that would have seen huge companies like Comcast and Verizon charge a premium to content providers in exchange for faster distribution. But after months of testimony and arguments from both service providers and critics of the initiative — including small business groups — the FCC ultimately sided with users and against providers.

But according to details leaked to reporters from Donald Trump’s FCC transition team, critics now fear that continuation of net neutrality could be in jeopardy.

The Net Neutrality Debate Heats Back Up

Just days prior to inauguration day, Trump reportedly sat down with Republican lawmakers to discuss the FCC’s future. And an inside source claims the majority proposal produced from that meeting had concluded that “the historical silo-based approach to communications regulation is inapposite to the modern communications ecosystem”, and that the FCC’s functions “are largely duplicative of those of other agencies”.

In diluting the power of the FCC and removing many of its powers, the implication is now that any proposed reshuffle would inherently cancel out last year’s Internet neutrality rules. If that turns out to be the case, small businesses and content providers with low budgets could ultimately suffer comparatively in terms of the speed of service they receive and distribution of their online content.

A firm decision has yet to be made on the issue, and only time will tell how the new administration chooses to address recent precedents as far as  net neutrality is concerned. Yet bearing in mind Trump has tapped Republican FCC member Ajit Pai, a vocal critic of neutrality, to head the agency, commentators now fear a full reversal is all but inevitable.

Trump Photo via Shutterstock


Donald Trump Isn’t Exempt From Hate-Speech Rules, Twitter Clarifies

Donald Trump Isn't Exempt From Hate-Speech Rules, Twitter Clarifies
Twitter recently banned hundreds of accounts that violated its rules and the micro-blogging site said no one is exempt from its hate-speech rules – not even President-elect Donald Trump.

“The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies,” a company spokesperson told online magazine Slate.

“The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts, including verified accounts,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying, and that could mean, hypothetically, Trump, who has a track record of using social networking sites to flag conspiracy theories, attack reporters and even threaten political rivals, could too be banned or suspended.

Twitter recently suspended the accounts of several leading pundits and activists from the “alt-right,” a pro-Trump movement that is linked with notions of white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-Semitism, Slate reported.
Twitter lays down that a user “may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism” and “may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others”.
“In order to protect the experience and safety of people who use Twitter, there are some limitations on the type of content and behavior that we allow. All users must adhere to the policies set forth in the Twitter Rules. Failure to do so may result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of account(s),” the Twitter Rules state.

Facebook, one the other hand, indicated that it would not apply its normal community standards to posts from President-elect Trump, given their newsworthiness and the widespread popular support for his views, the report said.

Tags: Twitter, Social, Donald Trump, Hate Speech