Ubering: the “Rideshare” Story
There are a few creations that have become “products,” because they became dominant in the market, and synonymous with an entire product category. Genericized names include Frigidaire, which became synonymous with “refrigerator,” Xerox, which became synonymous with “photocopying,” and Kleenex, which became synonymous with “tissues.” That has been the case with Uber, which has become identical with “rideshare.” Despite rapid growth since 2010, Uber has not become profitable, is carrying a cumulative loss of over $15 billion, as of November 2019, and it is doubtful if it will ever become profitable. Despite becoming an “eponym,” a key component of the gig economy, and inspiring numerous copycats, there is no guarantee that Uber will be able to generate an adequate return on investment, and remain in business. The concept has fatal flaws that impair its legal soundness. In the end, consumers and society determine if any business succeeds or fails. Government regulations are largely non-partisan, and exist to protect society, the general welfare, and the free enterprise system. Uber and the ride-share concept may be plowed under by regulations that exist to protect the public interest. However, regulations sometimes backfire and cause unintended consequences.