Manuel Woerner thanks for this article.

I would like to kindly elaborate criticisms over your article and especially its underlying message. Hope you’ll see this as a constructive and friendly share of thoughts!

First, you talk a lot about success. But can you define “success”? And harder: can you define “success” without subjective moral (good/bad) considerations? And would it make sense to define “success” without taking into account its socio-cultural context?

Well, you can see the problem here: success is mainly a moral and cultural construction that can only be defined by a context and subjective moral values. So, what’s your definition. According to your own words:

“Uber Technologies Inc., the transportation network-focused company founded in 2009 has been incredibly successful in conquering a huge market share in its home market. Per Business Insider’s recent article on the ugly market-share battle in reimbursed ground transportation, Uber still maintains almost 75% of market share in the ride-hailing industry, with Lyft (currently pushing past 25%) still trailing by a gigantic margin.”

You seem to focus on a U.S. liberal capitalist and financial definition, which probably fits well in the context of the Californian startup culture the company originates from and which you seem to value.

“Yet, in spite of its popularity in the U.S., the company has struggled to find a foothold in the European market, clashing with the well-established taxi unions and individual governments across the European continent.”

However, you do present a false opposition here by using a rhetorical argument called argumentum ad populum and by presenting things in a way suggesting that Uber ’s popularity should have prevented such struggles and clashes on the European market. European market that you define by as overly regulated and excessively protected. Interestingly, those terms are negatively connoted superlatives.

Therefore, you seem to favor Uber against its “opponents” (as it is a fight, from your own words), ignoring many ethical issues that arise from such companies and their culture. To support your point of view, you give us partial information:

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that Uber has shut down all services in a number of European countries, including Denmark in 2017, Greece in 2018 (after regulations were implemented that required all rides to begin and end in the fleet partner’s designated headquarters or parking area) and the Netherlands in November of 2015, when local authorities raided the Uber headquarters in Amsterdam.”

To be fair, it must be precise that Amsterdam authorities effectively did raided Uber headquarters, but as you forgot to mention, because of a then-ongoing investigation on suspected illegal taxi services.

Intended or not, and in addition with your introduction in which you try to legitimate Uber’s popularity and success by showing their “market-share domination” over the ride-hailing industry, this creates a disproportionated and unfairly balanced perspective, which one could summarize as: “the good Uber fight against the evil European market”.

This not an accusation, tho, more an observation. But please, correct me if I’m wrong. Therefore, this article sounds less like an explication and more like a judgment.

In one hand, you seem totally aware of these socio-cultural and non-generalizable specificities (i.e. US ≠ EU), but on the other hand you seem to reject those when you title your article like this “Resisting progress: Why Uber failed in Europe”, present in a negative way such differences, and conclude as such:

“I mean let’s face it, the world has never seen a better funded start-up.”

Questions: Do European countries really resisting progress? Could other factors well explain European countries position than this intent? Could it be that Uber’s price to “progress” is too high when looking at its obvious detrimental effects? And finally, could there be more than one answer to all these questions?

Thanks for reading!