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The Guild-ed Age
Uber Profits from Cabbie Protests in Europe

Cabbies throughout Europe went on strike against Uber on Wednesday, claiming that the company’s way of calculating fares uses a method that only officially licensed cabs are allowed to use. In other words, they tried to use guild-like regulations to prevent the competition from challenging their market position. But the result was exactly the opposite of what they intended: Uber sign-ups rose by 850 percent. The Christian Science Monitor has more:

Andre Spicer, professor of organisational behavior at Cass Business School, described the strike as “PR gold” for Uber.

“It’s an own goal. Uber is top of everyone’s minds. Lots of people who have never heard of the app before now know what Uber is,” he told CNBC. […]

“Journalists – and even the leaders of the protest – are now talking about the app on the news, and explaining how it works. It gives it 1,000 percent more credibility than if the company did it themselves,” he said.

We only wish other efforts to squash competition were as self-defeating.

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  • Corlyss

    It ain’t over till the EU states open up the market, which will take many years.

    I heard one of th English cabbies, some union official, try to defend the odious restrictions on Uber to PRI’s World. There was a hint of desperation in his voice, esp. when he talked about how the cabbies weren’t a monopoly. To my naive ears, he sounded like he was saying that as “part of public transportation” they were actually part of the government, so there was no way they were a monopoly. There were so many crimes against logic in his responses that it could have been a primer.

  • B-Sabre

    I was wondering how cabbies staging traffic blockades and slow-downs during rush-hour was supposed to make the public more sympathetic to their position. Like French farmer strikes and blockades, it smacks more of attempted intimidation.

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