An Uber executive says the company hopes to eventually open its platform to third-party developers
- Uber hopes to one day open its platform to third party businesses, much like Amazon's web services product.
- Chief technology officer Thuan Pham hinted at the plans on stage at a conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
- Selling services to other companies is a huge source of revenue for Amazon, Microsoft, and others. It could help Uber turn a profit, too.
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Uber's chief technology officer Thuan Pham said at a conference Tuesday that Uber wants to emulate Amazon's web services product
Pham provided a glimpse into the ride-hailing company's future plans for the platforms that dispatch its taxi rides and food deliveries.Speaking at the Rise conference in Hong Kong, Pham said eventually Uber hopes to open some of its software, from dispatching to mapping to billing, to other companies to use for their own businesses.
"All of these things we build in a more and more generic way so that we can then deploy them very rapidly to service our new lines of businesses," Pham said of Uber's various platform-powering tools. "We think of our platform as our own AWS to power our own businesses. Ultimately, we are thinking that this could extend, someday well into the future, and enable other business lines to be built on top of our platform by other third-party vendors as well."
Products like Amazon's web services or Microsoft's Azure have become big moneymakers for the tech companies in recent years. In 2018, AWS brought in $25 billion for Amazon, while Microsoft's intelligent cloud made $32 billion, or nearly a third of the company's total revenue.
But it will likely be a while. Pressed by interviewer Shelly Banjo of Bloomberg if Uber can "become an AWS for other businesses," Pham warned it won't happen overnight.
"Maybe in the type of labor on-demand industry like this we aspire to be like that some day. but again this is now only a glimmer in our eyes. we have multiple business lines that are v substantial that we have to build for ourselves right at the moment."
Opening some of Uber's services to third-parties could also help the deeply unprofitable company turn cash-flow positive. Throughout it's IPO roadshow earlier this year, the company repeatedly pitched "levers" to investors, which could be pulled to help turn a profit. This could be one of those."Fraud detection capabilities, mapping capabilities, routing capabilities, all of these things," continued Pham, "We don't see why we couldn't offer that for other people to build on top of it."
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