Uber Mulls a Move to Android

Uber, which has purchased tens of thousands of iPhones for its drivers, has been talking to Samsung and other Android hardware manufacturers about equipping drivers with Android phones, according to people involved in the discussions.

It’s unclear whether the discussions are part of a broader strategic shift by the red-hot transportation dispatch company away from the iPhone and towards the Android ecosystem. At a minimum, though, they show how the extraordinary growth of Uber is giving the company negotiating leverage that could help it control costs and extend its market dominance. The talks also illustrate the long-term challenges Apple faces in competing with hardware manufacturers that offer more flexibility and lower prices.

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In October, Uber was taking in gross revenues of around $20 million a week, or $1 billion annualized, according to leaked screenshots of its financials that the company confirmed at the time. That translates to an estimated $200 million in revenue Uber keeps after paying drivers.

—Amir Efrati contributed to this article.


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There's a larger strategic issue at play: Google’s Android operating system is more open than Apple’s iOS, and Uber wants to ensure it has the flexibility to offer new features and take advantage of all the new phone capabilities rolled out by different hardware makers.