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Mobileye's stand at the Munich Motor Show in September. Photo by Bloomberg.

Intel’s Lesson for Alphabet

Photo: Mobileye's stand at the Munich Motor Show in September. Photo by Bloomberg.

Intel’s decision to take its Mobileye unit public is a smart way to let investors buy directly into the technology side of the self-driving–car business. Plenty of people surely have little interest in owning Intel directly, given the troubles it’s had in chips. And Intel’s move raises a question: Why isn’t Alphabet, owner of pioneering self-driving–car developer Waymo, doing the same thing?

After all, it’s hard to imagine Waymo is being accorded the value it could get as a stand-alone company in its present state, tucked inside Alphabet’s “other bets” unit, along with health sciences unit Verily, artificial intelligence research division DeepMind and others. Of course, Waymo—unlike Mobileye—probably has little in the way of revenue, and is almost certainly years away from making money. It was only last year that Waymo began offering a paid robotaxi service to the general public, and then only in Phoenix. (More recently, Waymo has partnered with Albertsons to test its tech in grocery delivery, as well as with UPS on the freight side.) Sure, the big money may be a way off. But if you think a highly valued business needs revenue, I invite you to take a look at Rivan’s market capitalization, which at last count was $100 billion.

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