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AP

Uber has fired self-driving car executive Anthony Levandowski, amid a legal battle with Alphabet's Waymo unit over alleged trade secret theft, according to an internal email obtained by the New York Times and confirmed to Axios by the company. Levandowski, who left Waymo more than a year ago and whose self-driving truck startup (Otto) was eventually acquired by Uber, has refused to hand over files he allegedly stole, instead asserting his Fifth Amendment rights.

Context: Uber last week told Levandowski that he could be terminated if he declines to cooperate with the court's orders. According to an Uber spokesperson, he failed to meet Uber's deadline to comply. Eric Meyhofer, who took over some of Levandowski's duties in April, will fully replace him.

Why it matters: Firing Levandowski is likely the last thing Uber wanted to do. Not only is he a rare expert in autonomous driving technology, but Uber effectively paid $680 million to hire him when it acquired Otto.

Go deeper

19 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: TikTok launching jobs service for Gen Z

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok is testing a tool for brands to recruit employees, sources tell Axios.

Details: The pilot program is designed to help people find jobs on TikTok and connect with companies looking to find candidates. It's also meant to help brands use TikTok as a recruitment channel.

Crypto media boom

Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Axios Visuals

A slew of new crypto media companies have gained enormous traction over the past year, thanks to the digital currency craze taking over Wall Street.

Why it matters: “For the first time ever, crypto has become relevant to the global macro-economic conversation, and therefore, the investment conversation," says Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockworks, a financial media brand catered to investors.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

SoftBank and StubHub vets form new SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Jeffrey Housenbold, who recently stepped down as a managing partner of SoftBank Vision Fund, has formed a new SPAC with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who was president of ticket resale firm StubHub until it was acquired last year by Viagogo.

Why it matters: The death of SPACs has been greatly exaggerated.