Why Uber Faces a Day of Protests on Tuesday -- Tech Roundup

Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 28.

Tuesday is shaping up to be an interesting one for Uber. First, its drivers in more than 20 cities are planning to join the "Fight for $15" movement, as workers in both the ride-hailing business as well as other industries look for higher guaranteed pay and the right to form a union.

In essence, the drivers who are participating in this movement plan to sit out Tuesday from their ride-hailing routines. However, since Uber drivers are contractors and not employees, there's really nothing Uber can do in response.

The drivers are reacting to the company's decision to slash prices in San Francisco and in the South Bay, despite Uber's promise to "compensate drivers with high guaranteed hourly rates during peak times," according to SiliconBeat.

If Uber is only relying on contractors and not employees and as long as other drivers won't swoop in on protest days to pick up the extra slack (and money), what else can Uber do but pay a higher wage?

While the company may very well be turning the transportation industry on its head - just look at how taxi companies and car rentals have suffered - that doesn't mean there won't be a fair share of headaches.

Protests are one distraction, court is another. Across the pond on Tuesday, Uber will be headed to court as it tries to convince the regulators in Europe that it's not a transportation company. Instead, its a digital service, Uber says.

The difference may not seem to matter on the surface, but the nitty-gritty certainly shows a difference. By being classified as a transportation company, Uber would have to adhere to strict rules and regulations.

However, with the EU trying to bolster its e-commerce footprint, crimping companies like Uber with tight laws will hinder that growth.


Amazon (AMZN) is cracking down on the phonies. Last week, we noted that the e-commerce juggernaut was taking serious measures to crack down on what are referred to as "incentivized reviews."

In essence, customers were receiving free products in exchange for their "honest review." However, in a study it was found that these reviews were actually biased and as a result, Amazon did not want to support such a system -- especially a time where its competitors are doing anything to claw back market share.

Well, Amazon isn't stopping there as it now looks to crack down on fake merchandise. For too many years, the company has relied on others to report fake merchandise in hopes it would be removed from the site. Now though, Amazon is taking matters into its own hands.

Starting in 2017, the company will assemble teams both in the U.S. and Europe to work with major brands and their products in order to crack down on fake products that imitate them. While this will bolster the brand image for Amazon, it's arguably an even bigger win for the companies selling products.

Imitation products that copy or clone their products not only take time to sniff out and report, but they also draw away customers who may have otherwise spent that money on the authentic product.

This won't rid the problem completely, but it will certainly help.

Shares of Amazon closed at $766.77 Monday, down 1.7%.


Is it time to get serious about Alphabet's (GOOGL) smartphone? Maybe not yet, but if Morgan Stanley's analysts are right, the company will be mopping up someone else's market share this quarter.

While analysts only expect the company to sell 5 million to 6 million devices in 2017, they also expect 3 million Pixel units to be sold in the fourth quarter, good for about $2 billion in sales.

When dealing with companies like Alphabet and Apple (AAPL) , $2 billion here and $2 billion there may not seem like a whole lot of money.

But for a quarterly result, it certainly does matter. If the Pixel does indeed generate $2 billion in sales, it's likely to propel the company's revenue results ahead of consensus estimates, given that analysts currently expect the company to earn about $25 billion in the fourth quarter.

That added revenue won't be expected by many and would delight many shareholders if it came to fruition -- especially if that strength continued into 2017.

If those two things do indeed happen, the question will be, who's loss is it?

Seeing as though smartphone growth is practically non-existent, someone has to be losing market share. Will it be Apple? How about Samsung (SSNLF) ? Only time will tell.

Shares of Alphabet closed at $785.79 Monday, up 0.7%.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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