Last month, we let you know about a group of bright Harvard Business School students that launched an app that they considered the Kayak of ridesharing. Urbanhail allowed passengers to see side-by-side, real-time pricing – including surge rates – for different ride-sharing apps at any given moment.
Shortly after the app launched in late-April, the developers received an e-mail from Uber Developer Experience Lead, Chris Messina:
Uber’s developer terms explicitly forbid using its data “in any manner that is competitive to Uber. We’re more than happy for you to continue developing your app, but ask that you remove any features that list Uber’s prices next to our competitors. Please let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!”
Since then, the news has only gotten worse for this student led startup. Earlier this week, Uber revoked Urbanhail’s access to Uber’s open software, sparking criticism that Uber was acting in contrast to its supposed ideals supporting competition. Chris Messina of Uber wrote in an email to Urbanhail:
“Despite our efforts to make these terms and policies clear and transparent, you chose to act against them.”
Amber James, co-founder of the startup responded and was quoted as saying:
“They are absolutely a champion of competition when it’s them against taxi companies or them against regulators. However, in its own ride-hailing niche of the transportation market, Uber’s stance is ironically absolutely anti-competitive.”
Now, Uber no longer appears on Urbanhail’s price-comparison list.
What are your thoughts on this latest development with Uber?