Uber, Driver Attorneys Manoeuvre Toward Crucial Hearing

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Uber Technologies Inc is jostling with drivers suing for reimbursement of their expenses in advance of an important hearing next week in the fight over whether drivers are independent contractors or employees entitled to benefits.

Three drivers sued Uber in a federal court in San Francisco, contending they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.

If allowed to proceed as a class action, the 2013 lawsuit could cover more than 160,000 California drivers and give plaintiffs leverage to negotiate a settlement.

Now, both sides are trying to demonstrate to US District Judge Edward Chen that they command the support of drivers in the run-up to a hearing on class certification next week. In court filings, Uber cited written statements from more than 400 drivers supporting the company, with some arguing they prefer the flexibility of Uber’s current model.

That prompted attorneys for the three plaintiffs to call some of the drivers cited by Uber, according to court filings. Some of them said Uber did not tell them they could obtain mileage reimbursement should the case succeed.

“I would like to have my expenses reimbursed should I be entitled to obtain them under the law,” driver Daniel Beltran said in a sworn statement filed in court.

Uber fired back late on Thursday, saying it did not mislead anyone.

“Uber and its counsel were careful to ensure that all drivers with whom they spoke were well informed of the reasons for the conversation and the fact that it was completely voluntary,” the company said in a court filing.

One of the fastest-growing sharing-economy companies, Uber operates in 57 countries, with an estimated value of more than $40 billion.

The results of Uber’s legal battle could reshape the sharing economy, as companies say the contractor model allows for flexibility that many see as important to their success. An ultimate finding that drivers are employees could raise Uber’s costs beyond the lawsuits’ scope and force it to pay Social Security, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance.

Business Analytics Software Market in India to Touch $583 Million: IDC

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Business analytics software market in India is forecast to grow at 9.6 percent year-on-year through 2019, reaching $583 million (roughly Rs. 3,442 crores), as compared to 6.8 percent across Asia-Pacific region, a report said today.According to the report by IT firm Tableau and research company IDC, organisations are addressing pain points in areas like processes, risk management, optimisation of resources and customer management using next generation analytics software.

“This helps them in outperforming their peers while simultaneous reducing the data review time significantly,” IDC Asia Pacific Associate Vice President (Big Data, Analytics and Software) Craig Stires told reporters here.

Spend on end-user tools (part of the business analytics software market), including visualisation is forecast to grow in India at 10 percent y-o-y through 2019, reaching $121 million (roughly Rs. 774 crores), compared to 7.2 percent across Asia-Pacific.

In India, the business processes that have the highest utilisation of business intelligence (BI)/analytics are IT, risk management, customer service, and inventory, the report said.

“Of the countries studied in Asia-Pacific, Indian users are the most likely to feel their analytics needs are met. Users here indicated higher frequency of usage of analytics tools, with 60 percent increase in daily and weekly usage over other countries studied,” he said.

This is very important as daily use of BI/analytics results more frequently in over 50 percent improvement of business outcomes, Stires said. “Instead of confining access to critical data to an exclusive group of data scientists, we’re seeing that self-service data analytics is now on the rise with more organisations embracing a culture of data-driven decision making,” Tableau Software Country Manager India Deepak Ghodke said