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What do you expect the ongoing operational, support, and development costs might be? How about all of the localizations tweaks these services are making, which goes way behind translating text to exploring fundamentally different business models in some markets.
But I think the really huge omission here is the market development costs: marketing, awareness, education, training, regulatory battles, and so on have required huge human and capital investments. These private companies are laying the foundation while suffering huge losses in hopes of future payouts. It’s like pharmaceutical companies investing billions in drug R&D.
I don’t mean to celebrate Uber as some awesome well-intentioned business by any means. But I also don’t think we should trivialize what they and their competitors are investing in and competing for.
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