France could be hailing the end of Uber.
After days of demonstrations across the country, with tyres set alight outside Nantes airport and taxi drivers overturning cars on the streets of Paris, France's grudge against Uber and its uberPOP offering has taken a new twist, with two of the French operation's leading managers taken into custody.
Word comes from the Associated Press that the managers were arrested for "illicit activity" linked to the company's low-cost hire service, after France's interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve ordered police and prosecutors to enforce its closure. Further sources have identified the managers as Uber France CEO Thibaut Simphal and Uber Europe GM Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty.
The executives have been charged on two different counts: that of running an "illegal" taxi service in the eyes of French law, and for concealing digital documents from French police.
In March this year, police had raided Uber's offices in Paris after the launch of its uberPOP service had ruffled commercial feathers - with "non-professional" drivers allowed to supply lifts to the public. The Paris commercial court had stated that a ban of the cheap service would require a ruling of the criminal court, and as such the service could keep operating until the matter had received a final legal ruling.
Uber has courted commercial anger in almost every market its launched in, outpacing older taxi systems and legal practices with its cheap, app operated service. While it's made huge profits across the world, gaining an $18 billion valuation last year, the recent violence in France could give the company pause for thought in its approach to disrupting markets.
That, or they could just carry on pissing off governments until they're formally banned from most of Europe.