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Apple's Steve Jobs, Google Utilized Illegal no-Hire Agreements

According to leaked emails, Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs and Google utilized illegal no-hire agreements.

According to a court filing made public on Tuesday, Jobs threatened to file a patent lawsuit against Palm if its former chief executive, Edward Colligan, didn’t agree a deal with Apple that would result in neither company poaching each other's workers.

The filing is a civil lawsuit from five technology workers against Apple, Google and others that alleges the firms discussed methods to decrease wages. A sworn statement from Colligan reads:

"In 2007, I received a call from Steve Jobs, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple. In the months before the call, several employees had moved between the two companies. On the call, Mr. Jobs expressed concern about employees being hired away from Apple by Palm. As a solution, Mr. Jobs proposed an arrangement between Palm and Apple by which neither company would hire the other's employees, including high tech employees. Mr. Jobs also suggested that if Palm did not agree to such an arrangement, Palm could face lawsuits alleging infringements of Apple's many patents."

Jobs said the following when stating what the legal consequences could have been should Colligan not have agreed: "I’m sure you realize the asymmetry in the financial resources of our respective companies when you say: ‘We will both end up paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money.’" He also told Colligan:

"Just for the record, when Siemens sold their handset business to BenQ they didn't sell them their essential patents but rather just gave them a license. The patents they did sell to BenQ are not that great. We looked at them ourselves when they were for sale. I guess you guys felt differently and bought them. We are not concerned about them at all. My advice is to take a look at our patent portfolio before you make a final decision here."


The court filings also detail how Google developed its own no-hire agreements. Upon Google’s human resources director asking then-CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt about sharing its agreements with competitors, "Schmidt responded that he preferred it be shared ‘verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?’"

Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick said that Google has "always actively and aggressively recruited top talent." Schmidt, meanwhile, is due to be questioned by plaintiff lawyers in February.

According to plaintiffs' counsel, U.S. Judge Koh hasn't decided whether to make the civil suit into a class action lawsuit. Apparently, it would could cost the defendants "hundreds of millions of dollars."

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  • virtualban
    And Apple uses to this day IMO very illegal 'rectangle with rounded corners' and 'slide to unlock' ways to suppress competition. Let them whine.
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    Are those actually emails or has someone just made them up as 'what could have been said'?
    Reply
  • Memnarchon
    “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”

    -Honore de Balzac
    Reply
  • alvine
    they should be allowed to work in either one as long as they are not stealing company's secrets
    Reply
  • virtualban
    I find it disturbing how greed can change a person, from the idealist guy that said "great artists steal", intended to bring out the best product possible with whatever means he could, to this ugly soul that would patent everything under the sun, prior art or non prior art, to stop competition from bringing out well deserved better products. And trying to control who works where, and complaining when the competition manages to snatch those people.. sigh...
    Reply
  • ericburnby
    I find it disturbing they Google and Intel are also being pursued by the government as they colluded with Apple. Which means all 3 are guilty of the same crime.

    So why are people only talking about Jobs as if he's the only one who did anything wrong? Or posting up Jobs e-mails but conveniently omitting video e from Google and Intel.
    Reply
  • annymmo
    A lot of companies do this kind of stuff.

    One big reason why there are jobless people.
    The corporations should stop trying to save on manpower in development.
    Reply
  • myromance123
    ericburnbyI find it disturbing they Google and Intel are also being pursued by the government as they colluded with Apple. Which means all 3 are guilty of the same crime.So why are people only talking about Jobs as if he's the only one who did anything wrong? Or posting up Jobs e-mails but conveniently omitting video e from Google and Intel.
    Probably because Jobs is dead, but Google and Intel are still alive and able to protect themselves.
    Reply
  • thecolorblue
    ericburnbyI find it disturbing they Google and Intel are also being pursued by the government as they colluded with Apple. Which means all 3 are guilty of the same crime.So why are people only talking about Jobs as if he's the only one who did anything wrong? Or posting up Jobs e-mails but conveniently omitting video e from Google and Intel.perhaps because the jobs worship needs to end yesterday... call this a "perception correction"
    Reply
  • catfishtx
    Well, if you don't want your employees leaving, then make sure they are happy with their pay, their schedule, their benefits, whatever. Give no reason to even look for a job. I worked in the semiconductor industry for many years and witnessed employees coming and going to competitors. It was not always about money.
    Reply