Uber falls foul of the Italian law, because it thinks laws are out of date

Another day, another problem for Uber. This time Italy has decided to enforce the law that Uber chose to ignore.

20 years ago, Apple seemed to perpetually have the “beleaguered” tag attached to it. One Steve Jobs, an iMac or two, an iPod and an iPhone later, and it’s the biggest company in the world.

Today’s beleaguered company is Uber. And the problems keep coming:

A court blocked the use of smart phone apps for Uber cars UBER.UL in Italy on Friday, ruling that they constituted unfair competition.

The court said Uber could not use its Black, Lux, Suv, X , XL, Select and Van phone applications nor could it promote or advertise its services in Italy, a court document showed.

Once again Uber has charged into a market, with no respect for existing law, and then acts all surprised when the existing law comes and slaps them around.

Uber’s lawyers said they were “shocked” by the ban on the company’s services, and they said they plan to appeal the order since it was “based on a 25-year-old law”.

That last quote is just fascinating – it’s betrays some digital company’s view that “old is bad”. And of course, it isn’t. The best digital technology meshes the old with the new*. Uber itself is fulfilling the age-old need for transport. Old law doesn’t decay – it actively has to be changed. And you don’t achieve that by breaking the law and antagonising law-makers.

Uber’s path out of its HR and business crisis is not doubling down on disruptive innovations. Breaking things is easy. Integrating things with the existing infrastructure is hard. And nobody at Uber seems interested in doing the hard work of working with local authorities, and cleaning up their internal HR problems.

And there’s no founder to return to the company in glory and turn things around. Ubers founders are still there. Uber needs a culture transplant.

There’s no sign of it coming. And that will turn “beleaguered” into “failed” if they’re not very careful.

Of course, we *would say that as a digital festival in an old theatre in the heart of historic Hamburg…