There's been a lot of press about Uber's latest problem -- the California Department of Motor Vehicles has announced that ride-sharing drivers, who are in fact using their vehicles for a commercial purpose, need to get commercial plates.
That's not the end of the world -- but it's a big blow to the Uber model, which calls for people to buy cars, with Uber-backed financing, and turn them into taxis without following the rules that apply to taxis. Getting commercial plates takes a little longer (if there are 11,000 Uber drivers in San Francisco, and all of them have to get appointments at the DMV, the backup could take a while.)
But Uber is saying it doesn't care: The company protests the ruling, and will keep right on encouraging people to register their cars as personal, noncommercial vehicles -- the same way the company has offered to pay the fines in some cities for Uber drivers who illegally pick up and discharge passengers at airports.
The same way Airbnb encouraged people to violate city zoning and tax laws and rent out their homes as hotel rooms.
Here's the motto: It's better to ask forgiveness than permission -- particularly if you have a billion dollars or more in the bank and some very powerful people on your side.
The Uber model runs into the DMV