Alphabet executive David Drummond has left Uber’s board of directors as rivalry between the two companies heats up.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is placed in direct competition with online transportation network Uber given Google’s push in autonomous transportation, which could eventually result in a ride hailing service.
Uber reportedly banned Drummond, who has been a board member since 2013, from attending board meetings several weeks ago. Uber told the Wall Street Journal Drummond had stepped down from his position some weeks ago due to conflicts of interest.
“I recently stepped down from Uber’s board given the overlap between the two companies,” Drummond, who is senior vice-president of corporate development and chief legal officer for Alphabet, told Fortune.
“Uber is a phenomenal company and it’s been a privilege working with the team over the last two plus years. GV remains an enthusiastic investor and Google will continue to partner with Uber.”
Uber, according to Fortune’s report, is also restricting information it shares with board “observer” David Krane. Krane runs GV, Alphabet’s venture capital division.
Although Google has yet to confirm the rumors, it is well known that Google’s autonomous vehicle unit, which became a standalone Alphabet company this year, plans to not only create vehicles for sale, but also for hire.
The move should come as no surprise given that Uber is looking to challenge Google with the creation of its own self-driving cars. Uber this month announced its acquisition of self-driving transport start-up Otto for $680 million. Otto’s entire 90-plus person team — which includes Anthony Levandowski, the former tech guru for Google’s self-driving car division — will move to Uber. And it is a sure bet the team will be working on autonomous tech for more than just transports.
The self-driving vehicle market continues to heat up as tech and automobile companies grapple to become the first company to launch a self-driving vehicle for the consumer market.