Uber and Lyft are battling to win the on-demand car-service space and it isn't pretty.
Previously, Lyft accused Uber's staff of hailing and then canceling thousands of rides, causing its drivers time, money, and strife. Now an Uber representative tells The New York Times' Mike Isaac that the only reason Lyft is making these accusations is that Uber is refusing to acquire it.
When reached for comment, an Uber representative gave Business Insider the same statement given to The Times. We've bolded the most damning part of the statement:
Lyft’s claims against Uber are baseless and simply untrue. Furthermore, Lyft’s own drivers and employees, including one of Lyft’s founders, have canceled 12,900 trips on Uber. But instead of providing the long list of questionable tactics that Lyft has used over the years, we are focusing on building and maintaining the best platform for both consumers and drivers.
These attacks from Lyft are unfortunate but somewhat expected. A number of Lyft investors have recently been pushing Uber to acquire Lyft. One of their largest shareholders recently warned that Lyft would "go nuclear" if we do not acquire them. We can only assume that the recent Lyft attacks are part of that strategy.
Isaac says the companies have had acquisition talks before, but they aren't moving forward with a deal.
Lyft and Uber have both raised boatloads from investors; Uber's latest valuation exceeded $10 billion. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has publicly called Lyft's CEO a "clone" and both companies have scooped each other's product launches. During Uber's last fundraise, Kalanick publicly backhanded the competition: "We do 10 times more trips than them and on a booking basis we're 20 times bigger," Kalanick said of Lyft. He added, "If they have the same amount of funding, we spend faster, so you have to make sure you have a cash advantage."
Lyft provided us with this response to Uber:
Once again Uber is deceiving the public, now with false allegations and an attempt to deflect from their illegal cancel campaign.
Lyft has more than 100 investors, all of whom are extremely excited that Lyft is approaching IPO-level revenue. Our "nuclear" strategy is continuing to take market share with 30% month-over-month growth, while building the strongest community of drivers and passengers.