Apple Makes Another Huge Ride-Sharing Deal

Apparently, China’s number one ride-sharing company, Didi Chuxing (now owner of Uber China), wasn’t enough for Apple. Maybe Tim Cook and company are also worried that we think they may have given up on the transportation segment. Who knows the company’s intentions, but the fact is that Apple has made a deal with India’s largest ride-sharing company, Ola.

Bhavish Agarwal, CEO of Ola

Obviously, Apple is not done with transportation and future mobility. Ola will be using Apple Music in its entire fleet. Apple now has both the Chinese fleet, Didi Chuxing, that provides over 11 million rides each day (yes that is not a typo), and India’s Ola, that provides well over one million daily rides in 325,000 cabs, to 25 million customers.

Those are crazy numbers, and it would be a challenge for Apple to find a better way to impact more people on a daily basis. But, impacting people is surely not the company’s only goal. Apple has access to all of the accumulated data from each ride. This is monumental for Apple.

Riders in Ola vehicles will have access to Ola Play on a borrowed tablet. With the tablet, the customer gains control of vehicle settings like air conditioning, and can watch videos, read eBooks, and listen to music. The partnership is similar to a 2014 deal between Uber and Spotify, in which Uber passengers were given control of the car’s music through the Spotify app on their smartphone. Bhavish Agarwal, CEO of Ola explained:

“Cars were initially built for the driver. But with ride-sharing, the control needs to be there for the passenger, and Ola Play works along that.”

Being that this is the second substantial deal that Apple has secured with overseas ride-hailing companies, analysts are in a frenzy. The super-private tech mecca will surely not divulge its full intentions, and as usual, has yet to comment on the situation. However, analysts and anyone else with interest on the subject will tell you that this proves even further that Apple is moving further into automotive software development and likely autonomous ride-sharing goals. Technology analyst Grayson Brulte shared:

“Apple invested $1 billion in [Chinese ride-hailing giant] Didi, so it has access to all their data. Now Apple will have access to Ola’s Apple Music data. So you start to put the pieces together. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple try to gather all the data in the food chain … What’s the next relationship? We’re waiting for the third domino to fall, and when it does, we’ll understand where this is going.”

Source (Los Angeles Times)

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