Uber gets itself banned in Italy

Unfair competition, courts say

Uber's difficult year continues: the cab-hailing service has been effectively banned from Italy after a Rome judge ruled the service represented unfair competition for the taxi companies and services already on the streets.

The ruling means - for now at least - that Uber's apps can't be used in Italy, and the company can't promote or advertise its services within the country's borders... which means you're going to have a very hard time trying to get an Uber in Italy.

In a statement Uber said it was "shocked" by the decision, and the company is reportedly planning to start an appeal. For now though, if you're living in or visiting Italy, you're going to have to stand on a corner waving your arm, just like the old days.

"Anchored in the past"

Uber said the Italian authorities are "anchored in the past", local newspapers reported, citing "privileged profits" as one of the reasons Uber wasn't being allowed to operate. Meanwhile lawyers for the taxi firms called Uber "the most striking form of unfair competition ever registered on the Italian local public transportation market".

At the same time Uber is fighting a legal challenge from Waymo, owned by Google parent company Alphabet, which says it stole some of its self-driving car secrets. Uber has described the claims as "baseless" but the case continues.

In the latest court filings, Uber has claimed the LIDAR radar scanning system its current cars use is an off-the-shelf version from a supplier, while the company works on a new model unrelated to Waymo's designs - in other words, Uber's self-driving cars are still playing catch-up.