Apple considered – and rejected – Uber for deliveries
Expecting delivery of an Apple Watch? Don’t expect it to arrive in an Uber car.
Apple discussed a delivery deal with Uber, according to today’s Wall Street Journal, but signed instead with Postmates, a startup courier service based in San Francisco.
The Journal story doesn’t say why Apple decided against what Uber calls its “urban logistics fabric” — a network of 200,000 active drivers that’s bigger than UPS.
But its reporting about other deals that fell through suggest some potential snags:
- A deal with Gilt Groups fell apart because Uber’s insurance policy — which maxed out at $1,000 — was unable to cover high-priced items
- Another deal fell apart because Uber didn’t have a way to link to an inventory-management system that specified things like shirt sizes and styles
- Uber’s surge pricing system works against any company that ships a lot of product all at once — like new iPhones on the first day of availability
But the model of distributed delivery in a packet-switched network is a powerful one. These are details that someone will eventually work out, even if Uber can’t.