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Europe Isn’t Buying Uber’s ‘We’re Just an App’ Argument

Uber may soon have to play by the rules of a transport provider.
May 11, 2017, 2:01pm

Is Uber a tech startup or a transportation company? A legal opinion from the top European court has decided it's the latter.

The question was referred to the EU Court of Justice—Europe's highest court—following an anti-competition suit by Spanish taxi firms against the UberPop service, which let non-professional drivers offer paid-for rides using their own cars without any licensing.

Advocate General Maciej Szpunar noted in his opinion that Uber isn't merely an "information society service" but a "comprehensive system for on-demand urban transport". Nor is it a ride-sharing app, but a "service in the field of transport". The opinion isn't binding, and a final ruling will arrive later this year.

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