15 March 2017

Mobileye sale and knee biters, large and small

The media, of course, is full of praise for the successful exit of Mobileye, the Israeli maker of safety and self-driving car technology, sold to Intel for a serious amount of money ($15.3B, as the media says). I, like many other folks, applaud and congratulate the company owners and employees with their success and wealth. And, seeing how some of the proceeds of that sale will inevitably end up in our treasury's pockets, I too will expect to make a shekel or two out of it in various ways our inventive ministry of finance and others will undoubtedly devise.

So it was kinda strange to see a sour face on the general background of celebration and joy. The sour face belongs to no other than our progressive Haaretz, via its reporter, one Eliran Rubin. The article in question:

Mobileye Founder After $15.3 Billion Exit: 'It’s Not the Money. We Want to Change the World'

But it is not the headline, it is the lede that caught my attention:

Amnon Shashua defends the sale of the self-driving car technology firm to Intel as essential for the company’s growth.

Have you notice that word that somehow jumped out at me when I've read this sentence? The "defends", I mean? Apparently the sale itself isn't as obviously desired step in a high tech Israeli start-up career as one might consider. Somebody had even asked Amnon Shashua why has he done it, judging by the following response:
Asked why he consented to selling Mobileye when it was riding the crest of the autonomous-car wave, with a market cap of $10 billion and alliances with some of the world’s top auto makers, Shashua said he saw it as the only way for the company to keep growing.
I can only guess who was asking and so can you.

The motive of the sale to Intel needing defence appears once again in the article:
Yesterday Netanyahu and Economy and Industry Minster Eli Cohen defended the move, saying it boosted economic growth and helped lure multinational companies to Israel.
I happened to hear part of that on radio, and the last thing that would have come to mind of the listener was that the speeches were defensive in any conceivable way. You can take it to the bank.

But nothing to do about it, I guess. Knee biters will be knee biters, no matter what. And, since small knee biters were mentioned, here is an example of one: