Report: Apple Considered Banning Uber From the App Store

According to a scathing new report from The New York Times, Uber is not above skirting the rules to get ahead.

The paper reported on Sunday that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was summoned to Tim Cook’s office in 2015. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) discovered Uber had secretly installed a piece of software into its app that would allow the company to track users even after they had deleted the program. This is strictly against Apple’s terms of service.

It gets worse. Uber reportedly hid the secret from Apple by setting up a "geofence". This would identify people who were accessing Uber’s software from a specific location – in this case, Apple’s California headquarters. It would then scrub the offending code from people in that location. The ruse ended after Apple employees who used Uber’s app outside of the company’s headquarters saw the code and blew the whistle on the whole cover-up.

The situation reportedly culminated with Cook giving Kalanick a simple ultimatum: either get rid of the rule-breaking code or be banned from the app store on iTunes. Kalanick predictably ceded to Apple’s demands.

The last few months have not been particularly pleasant for Kalanick or Uber itself. The company has dealt with sexual harassment allegations from a former staffer, and Kalanick was filmed getting into a shouting match with an Uber driver. In addition, the Times reported both Uber and rival Lyft use anonymous information to monitor each other.

Uber has also reportedly used a program called Greyball that disguises the true locations and number of Uber cars available for hire. It used Greyball in areas where the ride-sharing service was not yet legal.