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The Almighty Buck Businesses Handhelds Apple Hardware

Apple Allegedly Sought Non-Poaching Deal With Palm 181

Posted by kdawson
from the hands-off-or-at-least-palms-off dept.
theodp writes "A Bloomberg report that Apple CEO Steve Jobs proposed a possibly illegal truce with Palm against poaching their respective employees is sure to pique the interest of the US Department of Justice, which already is investigating whether Google, Yahoo, Apple, Genentech and other tech companies conspired to keep others from stealing their top talent. 'Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal,' former Palm CEO Ed Colligan reportedly told Jobs in August 2007." The article notes that Apple was probably reacting to Palm's hiring of Jon Rubenstein, who had been instrumental in developing the iPod and went on to spearhead the Pre for Palm (and has now become Palm's chairman and CEO). "It's the story about the importance of charismatic engineers," said veteran Silicon Valley forecaster Paul Saffo. "People don't work for Palm. They work for Jon Rubinstein. One has to wonder how Steve Jobs ever let Jon Rubinstein leave."
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Apple Allegedly Sought Non-Poaching Deal With Palm

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:39AM (#29145587)
    Apple wasn't looking to screw over their employees. They merely wished to make the Apple employment experience more simple and elegant. With other employers, employees must make complicated and confusing decisions about raises and other job opportunities, resolve conflicts between competing employers, etc. At Apple, it's a simple "You work here" interface.
    • ah yes, the infamous iWork program. I've heard good and bad things about this program.

      Last I read, iWork is not compatible with iLife, unless you're running the iWork is iLife RC2.

      I have not updated to that level of iLife, thankfully.

      • by Tim4444 (1122173) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:00AM (#29145811)
        I heard the iWork doesn't have a sleep mode. You can only use the buddy device iBreakForCoffee.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by TheGreenNuke (1612943)
          On top of that, iWork will not work on mobile devices and does not support roaming licenses.
          • by easyTree (1042254) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:41AM (#29147857)

            Is it just me or is it more fun bashing Apple than Microsoft?

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by smellsofbikes (890263)
              The satire's better because the target is more interesting. It's easy to model Microsoft as this nearly all-powerful obelisk of pure evil, and there's nothing funny, ironic, or edgy about criticizing pure evil. Apple, however, can be modelled as just as evil as Microsoft but with a cheerful, shiny exterior, like an M&M: crunchy and bright-colored on the outside, but filled with darkness. Suddenly there's room for a lot more range of critical approaches, and a lot more targets, especially the people w
              • by MoriaOrc (822758)
                That was supposed to be "Funny" .. sorry about the bad mod.

                Also, whoever is modding this troll needs to get one of those iLife things I read about elsewhere in the thread.
              • Apple has always been a fun target ... They actually deserve to be! The fact is they are definitely more evil than M$. (citation required) Apple is designed for the simpleton ... why else would their mouse only have one button? (Hint, they don't want to confuse their customers more than they already are.)It used to be more fun when Apple used Motorola/IBM processors, as the Apple Fanboys would always bite on this subject, even though they couldn't differentiate between shit and clay.
            • by jeko (179919) on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:24PM (#29151545)

              Oh, come on, it's fun bashin' everybody.

              Watch this:

              Obama's puttin'-geezers-outta-their-misery death panels are even more gun-totin' retarded than Dick Cheney and George Bush's love child with Condoleeza Rice, Alberto Gonzalez.

              See? One sentence mortally offended:

              1. Democrats
              2. Republicans
              3. Gays
              4. Latinos
              5. African Americans
              6. Special Olympics
              7. Senior Citizens
              8. The NRA
              9. the illegitimate

              You can play too. See how many special interest groups you can offend with less than 30 words.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "At Apple, it's a simple "You work here" interface."

      At least it was just a potential legal agreement.

      I love how it was suggested in William Gibson's novel _Count Zero_. Corporations defended against employee migrations to competitors with imprisonment (you worked in plush headquarters you weren't allowed to leave), military force (railgun), brain bomb implants (leave, die, a la MI3), and my favorite, the suggested (ex-)employee isn't harmed, just some (biological) agent is released that kills everyone arou

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by someone1234 (830754)

        It is only our current standing in technology that prevents some of these being employed :)

    • At Apple, it's a simple "You work here" interface.

      I always thought Apple was fond of saying "You just work!"

      Or something like that...

      (By the way, how do you make an Apple employee angry? You push his button...)

  • by furytrader (1512517) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:44AM (#29145619)
    Indirectly eliminating your vocational opportunities by working at Apple: that's not a bug in your employment contract, it's a feature.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm only allowed to jerk myself off.

  • by musefrog (1471169) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:45AM (#29145629)
    Jobs: "If a CEO does it, it's not illegal."
    • by soundhack (179543) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:55AM (#29145749)

      I would guess that it would be more likely "If Steve Jobs does it, it's not illegal"

    • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:33AM (#29146101) Journal

      Actually, this sort of agreement is common practice, even in Silicon Valley. One example: I left QuickLogic to join Synplicity. Soon after, all my friends were joining Synplicity. QuickLogic was a customer of Synplicity. QuickLogic's CEO had a talk with Synplicity's CEO, and soon after I was told that we don't hire QuickLogic people any more. BTW, both QuickLogic and Synplicity were fantastic companies to work for back then. We'd simply stripped (without meaning too) most of the software talent from QuickLogic, so it's understandable their CEO was pissed. Regardless of the law, most companies can't afford too piss off their customers.

      The only thing strange about that situation was it's technically illegal in California. However, such practice is perfectly legal here in NC where I live now. My old boss had an employee in our group that was very good. My boss went to Avanti, and told them never, under any conditions, would he allow that employee to switch to Avanti. You see, in NC, most employees have legally binding non-competition clauses in their employment agreements, which tend to stand up in court, so if you want to change jobs, your boss can threaten sue you directly. This is one of the main reasons high-tech startups suck wind here. Anyway, Avanti saw my old boss's passion about this one guy, so they offered him a job he couldn't refuse right away. D'oh!

      • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:09PM (#29148951) Homepage Journal

        This thread is replete with people who think it normal that businesses collude to strenghten their position in the labour market. And yet watch the howls go up if someone suggests that the employees do the same.

        Mart

        • This thread is replete with people who think it normal that businesses collude to strenghten their position in the labour market. And yet watch the howls go up if someone suggests that the employees do the same.

          From "Silk Stockings"

          Ninotchka: "So, tell me, Mr. Canfield, in America, are you one of the oppressors, or one of the oppressed?"

          Steven Canfield: "Oh, an oppressor, absolutely. And, as one oppressor to another, we both know it's the best place to be."

          Technical people often identify not with who they are, but with who they wish to become. We can generalize that: people often support ideas that hurt them, because they think they're going to end up in a place where those same ideas will help them out. Loo

          • by Toonol (1057698)
            Look at Joe The Plumber's question to Obama: he basically wanted to know, "if a miracle happens and I'm suddenly filthy rich, will I have to pay more in taxes?" to which the answer was "yes." So he was very upset because he believed that a miracle was going to happen to him. Same thing holds with many slashdotters.

            You absolutely miss the point of Joe the Plumber's question. I've listened to interviews with the guy; it would take a fair amount of class snobbery to think he was an idiot. (And yes, there
            • by Quothz (683368)

              LIt is an important question, since (despite you claiming it would be a 'miracle') it happens often in our society.

              Ah, that's where it gets ya. Upward-type class mobility is very rare - less in America than in many nations, but still it happens a lot less than many folks believe. It does happen, and in a country as large as this one, it seems to happen fairly often, but it really doesn't. For the vast majority of people in America, no matter how smart they are, no matter how hard they work, and no matter what they do, there's nowhere to go but straight on the course or down.

              So, no, it's not an important question. Upd

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WaywardGeek (1480513)

          I think California's laws against non-competition contracts should be adopted nation wide. It works wonders for the economy when employees can say to their boss, "Screw you, I'm starting my own business, and I'll kick your butt!"

          It is normal for businesses to try and collude to tie down their employees, and restrict competition. It's a natural result of the pursuit of money. What we need are laws restricting this in a very effective manner. California has done the best job, SFAIK.

        • And yet watch the howls go up if someone suggests that the employees do the same.

          So long as the employees aren't *forced* to collude, most won't care.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:45AM (#29145639)

    These cases come up all the time, they fall under restraint of trade. If Apple want to stop someone working elsewhere by contract shenanigans, they have to pay that employee until the contract dates expires.

    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:53AM (#29145727)

      While it may be true that a company can't legally prevent you from moving over to a competitor of your own free will, there are clauses in employment contracts that seek to prevent an ex-employee from poaching current employees away.

      What's interesting is how the word 'poaching' has gone from the illegal murder of animals while trespassing to stealing away of top talent. The evolution of this word as well as 'hunting' and other terms typically associated with big game hunting have become part of our employment lexicon.

      I bring this up because the analogy holds to some extent. Top level developers are, in a sense, hunted for their skills. While the bullet isn't what they get, they do get offers ranging from the low 6 figures to the slightly higher than that 6 figures. On the other hand, designers are paid much more than that. Take any marketing company as an example of top designers making money hand over fist. OSS could never compete with that, since there isn't that kind of money in this industry to pay for top developers. So you get the kind of brain-dead design as we see here on the /. front page. Seriously, why is there a bar with a tiny +- character there? Why is it separating the summary from the tags and comments links?

      • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:30AM (#29146059) Homepage Journal

        OSS could never compete with that, since there isn't that kind of money in this industry to pay for top developers. So you get the kind of brain-dead design as we see here on the /. front page. Seriously, why is there a bar with a tiny +- character there?

        It costs nothing to leave things the heck alone. Knowing when not to tinker with things is apparently much more expensive.

      • by Atrox666 (957601)
        It's simply price fixing on the labour market and should result in pound me in the ass prison. Fortunately laws are only for poor people.
      • After a quick check to see what you are talking about, I recommend this: try holding your mouse over the plus/minus thingy until the tooltip pops up. Not the best design though, I'm not sure entirely what the voting does - possibly something to do with the firehose system.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Space cowboy (13680) *
        I'm confused, how can one "murder" an animal ? I can see how you can kill it (perhaps by poaching on someone else's property), but how does one "murder" a non-human ? As far as I can tell, the dictionary defines murder as "the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another".

        I get that you're against killing animals. I can even understand that, but using emotionally-charged words like 'murder' when they don't apply just weakens the rest of your argument, at least to me.

        Simon.
      • ...and why isn't there a "Moderate" button NEXT to the moderation popup? You have to scroll to the freaking end of the page, then hit the moderate button.

        You should be able to pick the moderation value in the popup, hit a moderate button RIGHT THERE, then the page would reload to the exact same place with the moderation added.

      • by bjourne (1034822)

        What's interesting is how the word 'poaching' has gone from the illegal murder of animals while trespassing to stealing away of top talent. The evolution of this word as well as 'hunting' and other terms typically associated with big game hunting have become part of our employment lexicon.

        I don't think it is as much interesting as it is sad. What Apple was trying to set up was an illegal agreement to collude to keep salary competition down. Companies should have to compete for top talent, that is what the free market is all about. If a company loses an important employee to a competitor, well tough shit, you could have paid him more. What they are trying is simply pure price fixing.

        The sad thing about the word 'poaching' is that the corporations are trying to get the act of offering a compan

      • by Quothz (683368)

        What's interesting is how the word 'poaching' has gone from the illegal murder of animals while trespassing to stealing away of top talent.

        What's even more interesting is how it went from "poke" to "hunting or fishing where prohibited". I have trouble working out how swiping someone's quail is analogous to gouging out his eyes.

    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:56AM (#29145757) Homepage Journal

      You're talking about the situation where Apple's contract with the employee states that said employee may not work for competitor(s).

      This is different. It's either:

      Palm state they won't hire anyone who works for Apple (& vice versa).

      Or

      Palm state they won't actively solicit current employees of Apple (& vice versa).

      Since the original article is full of speculative crap and theodp's summary is full of shrill hysterics it's difficult to tell which. IANAL but I'd guess at least the second of those is probably legal.

      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:00AM (#29146371)

        The problem is that if you DON'T setup these types of agreements, and continue hiring away employees from direct competitors then you open yourself up to nasty patent/trade secret disputes. You've made a business practice of hiring employees with inside knowledge and you just set yourself up for the lawsuits.. that's why they call it "poaching'.

        Many business partners have these agreements, so that suppliers aren't competing with their customers for employees on the same projects... after all, why pay another company to do a job when you can just hire their best employees?

        From the slashdotter point of view, the headhunting is quite bad for YOUR career. Because these companies headhunt off each other, that means they're not looking for NEW talent (which of course there is such a shortage of!!!) preferring to hire the guy away that did the last cool project that was published, skyrocketing salaries pricing you, the mid-level employee, out of the game. Consider it like salary caps in sports. The stars make multi-million dollar deals.. the other 29 guys that practice just as hard and show up for all the games too get $75k tops ... In the same way, for each of these "rockstars" there's an army of guys making barely enough to afford living 2 hours from work (in northern California mind you).. but they make the "rockstars" look good and get the product shipped on time.

        This is why the companies focus on out-of-college recruiting almost exclusively (and there aren't enough new graduates willing to work like they have 10 years experience)... so they can pay sub-market wages and dangle the "rockstar" salary, eventually, rather than looking for older, meticulous, team players that get things done on time and under budget... and don't even work OT to do it! But of course they don't work for "rockstar" wages and they don't work for "newbie" wages either.

        • by Eevee (535658)
          I don't know which sport you're talking about but in the NFL [proathletesonly.com] the guy with no pro experience makes a minimum of $310,000. The NBA [insidehoops.com] is $457,000. And Major League Baseball [bizofbaseball.com] is $400,000. Hell, the minimum for someone with any experience in the Minors is $65,000.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by grendal2 (1622049)
        These types of agreements are very common within the public account realm. Every engagement letter I have signed with a CPA firms states you cannot hire their employees for a period of X years after work in completed. These are legal as the issue isn't between the employee and either company, but between the companies. So if Apple and Palm signed an agreement ( let's assume it wast was a valid contract and they had a valid reason to do for the moment) the employees would be able to leave Apple to go to Palm
        • No in the accounting world these agreements are not typically enforced unless you fire you CPA firms since they really don't want to lose a client, but they do need to protect their talent.

          Now you mention it that reminds me - I worked somewhere once where the CFO had previously worked for one of the big 6 (as it was then) on a project there. They basically "bought out" the clause for X days worth of fees.

  • by rekoil (168689) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:53AM (#29145729)

    One has to wonder how Steve Jobs ever let Jon Rubinstein leave."

    Simple - by forcing him to report to Steve Jobs.

  • by gubers33 (1302099) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:54AM (#29145737)
    Never, why would Steve Jobs do something like that? Jobs is a cut throat CEO, who for some reason people think is so much better than Bill Gates when the two are practically the same, the difference being that at least Gates gives to charity daily, where as Jobs does not. Don't get me know I think that Apple has amazing technologies, but they are definitely overpriced when they don't need to because Jobs himself thinks he is better than so many.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:06AM (#29145883) Homepage Journal

      Jobs is, if not an innovator, then at least very clever about which trends to follow and has built a cult of personality. He is an ass, but he's a nerd's kind of ass who admires elegance and wants to get things done.

      Bill Gates is a manipulator and has built a cult of anti-personality. Of course, neither one is Jesus. They're both just some corporate masters of your capitalistic destiny. Gates, of course, is the far more successful. He has the kind of power that Jobs fantasizes about; at the top of the Gates foundation, he can alter the futures of whole nations through investment and charity... or the lack thereof.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >the difference being that at least Gates gives to charity daily, where as Jobs does not.

      What? I dont even like Jobs, but I wouldnt say that. Do you have his tax records or something? People who make past a certain amount of money give quite a bit to charity because:

      1. They want to.
      2. Tax incentives to do so.

      You can smear Jobs, but he's given more than you ever will. He may not run a massive charity, but then again he doesnt have the money Gates has.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gubers33 (1302099)
        You are ripping on me because I don't don't give as much as Jobs? I'm not a CEO who makes millions of dollars, so you are right. And I ripped on Jobs and Gates, both were cut throat CEOs who screwed a lot of people over. I was bringing to notice that Jobs hasn't gotten as bad as a rep as Gates has gotten. Jobs is viewed as cool and hip even though he has screwed over so many and has appeared to taken part in some illegal activities along the way. And I am not a PC person or a Mac person, though I do own one
        • by yumyum (168683)
          I believe Jobs gets paid $1 in salary at Apple. I know that this is not his complete compensation, but he is not making tons of money. He already did that ages ago.
    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:06AM (#29146447) Homepage Journal

      Jobs is a cut throat CEO

      Totally true. The turtleneck is there to conceal an armoured gorget.

    • Apple's technologies are "definitely overpriced when they don't need to because Jobs himself think he is better than so many"??

      1. Companies price their products at whatever price the market will bear. If they don't, they go OUT of business due to lack of sales. Apple is having no problem moving their products at their asking prices. (In fact, they're still building more Apple retail stores at a time when most companies are closing them!)

      2. The average person you run into who thinks that Steve Jobs is a

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:12AM (#29145929) Homepage

    ...proposed a possibly illegal truce with Palm against poaching their respective employees...

    How could that not be illegal? It goes against everything our allegedly free market stands for. Top talent should command top dollar. Like athletes, developers have a finite number of peak production years. They should be able to work for the highest bidder.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Miros (734652) *
      Agreed. It's clearly illegal. The Sherman Antitrust act specifically prohibits

      "[e]very contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce."

      The test of this, derrived in a 1918 court case in Chicago, is along the lines of:

      "Every agreement concerning trade, every regulation of trade, restrains. To bind, to restrain, is of their very essence. The true test of legality is whether the restraint imposed is such as merely regulates and perhaps thereby promotes competition or whether it is such as may suppress or even destroy competition."

      All material from wikipedia article on US antitrust laws found here: wikipedia.org [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It goes against the ideal of the free market. But, in a truly unregulated market, there would be nothing stopping two companies colluding like this to their mutual benefit... or entering into any other kind of strange and possibly anti-competitive arrangement.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tixxit (1107127)
        In a free-market there wouldn't be any collusion, because all information is known (ie. there are no secret agreements). An employee would join Apple knowing full well he can't be employed anywhere else. If potential employees know this, then top-talent would stay away, thus hurting Apple.
        • by Miseph (979059) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:14AM (#29147427) Journal

          But then what would they do?

          I'm being serious. It might hurt Apple a bit, and it would hurt Palm a bit, and Microsoft a bit, and Oracle a bit, and Google a bit, but if this person declines taking a job with the colluders, then what will they do? Take work with start ups that can't actually afford to pay them the salary they demand trying to compete in already saturated markets? Engage in subsistence farming and day labor until it gets sorted out? Starve? Apple can afford to lose that person as an employee, but how long can that person afford not to be employed?

          This is a symptom of the single greatest flaw in Free Market theory, and one that NOBODY has a satisfying answer to: no true capitalist would ever willingly compete if they did not have to. Market collusion allows the minimization of costs, maximization of profit, and elimination of competition with far less risk or cost than any other method. Competition and free exchange alone creating a sustainable economy free of corruption and systemic iniquity is just a libertarian wet dream (much like that one about Ayn Rand lying naked on a pile of gold bars...).

        • by Toonol (1057698)
          I don't believe that complete transparency has anything to do with a free market economy. I'm a raging capitalist, so I'm not knocking a free economy; but there's no requirement for complete openness. It just isn't related.
    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:50AM (#29146263)

      see 'non-compete clauses'.

      at least in cali, those are not legal or enforceable.

      on one contract job I was about to take, the employer wanted to lock me out of working in that specific area for something like 4 years. I laughed and told him he gets ZERO years of lock-out and that this is cali and not india ;) we have -some- rules here (this is bowling, not nam, sparky; there are rules!).

      I crossed out the offending lines and resubmitted the paperwork. they accepted it. they knew. and I knew. and they knew I knew ;)

      non-competes are illegal in most states. don't ever sign anything with a non-compete on it. you have the RIGHT to earn bread each day, to live on, dammit.

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:27AM (#29146735)

        see 'non-compete clauses'.

        at least in cali, those are not legal or enforceable.

        on one contract job I was about to take, the employer wanted to lock me out of working in that specific area for something like 4 years. I laughed and told him he gets ZERO years of lock-out and that this is cali and not india ;) we have -some- rules here (this is bowling, not nam, sparky; there are rules!).

        I crossed out the offending lines and resubmitted the paperwork. they accepted it. they knew. and I knew. and they knew I knew ;)

        non-competes are illegal in most states. don't ever sign anything with a non-compete on it. you have the RIGHT to earn bread each day, to live on, dammit.

        Except in this case, it's an agreement to not poach.

        A non-compete prevents an employee from working at a competitor.
        A non-poach prevents a company from actively trying to hire another company's employees.

        The difference is, a non-compete prevents employees from willingly seeking employment elsewhere, which is illegal. A non-poach prevents employers from actively trying to "steal" employees. In a non-poach, employees are free and willing to seek employment at the other company.

        In this case, it would keep Palm from actively recruiting people from Apple, and Apple from actively recruiting from Palm. It does not prevent any Apple employee who wants to work at Palm from seeking employment at Palm on their own volition, and vice versa. Hell, Apple employees are free to work at Microsoft, if they wish, because there was no non-paoch agreement (that we know of) between the two companies.

        It's the same deal between Apple and Google. Apple agrees not to recruit people from Google, and vice-versa, but individual employees are still free to leave and join the other.

        These non-poaching agreements aren't really a big deal - they don't prevent employees from leaving and joining the other company (or any other). It just prevents companies from actively targeting employees at the other company. Examples include say, setting up a little booth off campus (but where employees walk by anyhow) offering jobs to them, having headhunters that will then call employees at their desks, or putting up billboards saying stuff like "Apple employee? Come work for Palm!" in full view of the Apple campus (EA did this to Radical - rented a billboard right outside the Radical offices).

        At worst, it's a form of collusion between two companies which might be used to keep salaries low, but there's enough other companies out there that employees can work for.

        It's like two car dealerships agreeing not to steal business away from each other - the customer is free to shop between the two (and haggle), but one dealer won't go and say "buy a car from me instead of this guy!" to customers visiting the other guy's lot.

        • by An ominous Cow art (320322) on Friday August 21, 2009 @12:41PM (#29148591) Journal

          You make a very bold statement.

        • by jpmorgan (517966)
          Yes, non-poaching is exactly like two car dealerships getting together. And you're right, it is a form of collusion. And yes, collusion is illegal. Not in the 'your contract is invalid' way, in the criminal investigation way.
        • by Quothz (683368)

          Except in this case, it's an agreement to not poach.

          The joy of post preview is only exceeded by the smug superiority that comes from reading the fucking article. In this case, it's an agreement to not hire.

          "Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal," Colligan reportedly told Jobs.

          I think we can agree that quote is not ambiguous. But you haven't seen it before, have you?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)

        First, this is about another COMPANY soliciting employees, "on the clock" from competition, specifically knowing what projects they work on and what knowledge they have.. way different than an employee non-compete. Even non-competes are legal when properly limited in scope and duration... like telling iPhone OS devs they can't work on Pre is EXACTLY what NCs are for.

        It's bordering on unethical to employees to hire them away from working on one type of phone project so your company can work on another, compe

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:21AM (#29145983)

    This is why you never, ever trust an employer to do right by you. All the incentives are aligned the wrong way, and to rise high in a company, you practically have to be a slick sociopath. The same guy that asks you how your day went by the water cooler would have you chained to a desk 14 hours to day if the law would let him get away with it.

    Speaking of getting screwed - why are there specific regulations in the federal labor laws that exempt "certain computer workers" from overtime pay [flsa.com]?

    • All the incentives are aligned the wrong way, and to rise high in a company, you practically have to be a slick sociopath.

      zero diffs between this and politics.

      get far enough along in either politics or mgmt and you're a slick sociopath.

      every ceo or high level mgr I've met has been a case of 'shake hands with him and afterwards you have to count your fingers'.

      power corrupts. duh. no one is above it, either. practically no one (its very rare to find someone who can survive all that power and not have it r

    • by Arthur B. (806360)

      Law has nothing to do with it. Employees would just avoid the place.

  • by dbet (1607261)
    The more rotation of new employees you have, the more training and orientation they need, the less productivity you get out of your staff. On the flip side, this can be self-correcting because employers will look unfavorably at someone who has changed jobs 6 times in the last 8 years, encouraging people to pick their jobs carefully and stay a while.
  • Working For The Man (Score:4, Informative)

    by darkvizier (703808) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:12AM (#29146521)

    People don't work for Palm. They work for Jon Rubinstein.

    Interesting... I used to work for a guy like that. I and several people I talked to joined the company solely based upon our interview with him. After he got let go following a dispute with upper management, most of those under him left as well. He was somewhat notorious for ignoring the anti compete policies and having a band of loyal followers where ever he went.

    The guy cared about the people under him, and would try to help them advance their careers. Their appreciation of that was only natural. Combine that with a strong sense of direction and a willingness to take command and you've got a pretty effective leader. Only problem is getting his direction to line up with the business... so maybe guys like that just belong at the top, or running their own gig.

    • The guy cared about the people under him, and would try to help them advance their careers.

      I'd work for a guy like that - having worked for so many who aren't at all like that.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:39AM (#29146899) Homepage

    I know someone who moved from the iPhone project to Palm. He was at a high enough level to be screamed at by Steve Jobs in person, and he didn't like that. He waited until the iPhone shipped, then left for a company with sane management.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:45AM (#29146995)
    If I had worked for any of these companies and found out that I was now a pwned slave to them with no ability to move to another strong company worth working for I'd want the Feds to clean their clocks out -- and give me my share of the damages!

    How many PHBs here were rubbing their hands together with glee at review time knowing that the employee they were about to dump on had no option to move to any other comparable company no matter what they were told?
  • "Likely Illegal"

    "Mostly Harmless"

    "Somewhat Pregnant"

    Oh yea, it's illegal. We're not harmless. You are or you are not, whether you know it or not.

    This will be fun. Our current Administration could take this opportunity to start exercising some antitrust muscles and spank some bad boys and girls.

  • I find it annoying (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moniker127 (1290002) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:14AM (#29147425)
    that if this were microsoft, people would be yelling and screaming, and calling ballmer an evil bastard.
    But noooo.... since this is apple- half the freaking people will defend them even if they're being evil.
    Look- it does not matter how shiny or great your new mac is- the corporation that made it is just as underhanded and evil as its main competitor, just less successful at being evil.
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:43AM (#29147875)

    This wrap-up article appears to be a Palm piece designed to attach them more firmly to Apple in people's minds. Trying to imply Palm is so great that Apple is trying to stop them and also imply that Palm is just like Apple, in fact they have half of Apple's engineers!

    The real kicker is the last part. "These people work for Rubenstein". Yeah, maybe that's true for Mike Bell. Pete Alexander (who used to work for Mike Bell) just quit Apple (was forced out) and will be working at Palm within 3 months.

    But there are a lot of people for whom this doesn't apply. I used to work for Rubenstein and I can tell you he's so much not a people person it's ridiculous. He makes 2000-era Al Gore look personable. He would periodically get up and address the team and he would say things that clearly showed he didn't any real connection to us or even know what we were doing. For example, he once rallied us by saying the software/hardware release we just did was the best one we had ever done. The whole crowd groaned because we knew it wasn't, that it was pushed out the door and in fact we had a plans for a near-term emergency .0.1 update and a rapidly following .0.2 update.

    Maybe if you work directly for the guy day-to-day you can form an attachment to him, but to anyone lower down in the ranks, it isn't the same.

    As to why Steve Jobs "let" Rubenstein leave, I'm sure it was similar reasons as why Tony Fadell left. Because both realized they wouldn't be the next CEO of the company. Steve Jobs only action then of "letting" them leave was to not step aside and let Rubenstein or Fadell be CEO. Rubenstein got out, and lo and behold he's now the CEO of Palm.

    • by hkmwbz (531650)

      in fact they have half of Apple's engineers

      Wow. How insanely important! Really! That's REALLY important, you know! Um... So what if they have half? They don't have all of Apple's product lines. But if Palm Pre is successful and all that, wait and see.

      Apple fanboy much? :D

  • Apple is just as evil as any other corporation...actually, it is more evil than most!

    That being said, I still want an iPhone! Please come out with a 4G LTE phone on Verizon!
  • It's amazing that no one here has so much as questioned the source for this report. The Bloomberg article doesn't say anything specific about what kind of source they have, except that it involves "communications between the two executives obtained by Bloomberg".

    I don't have a good feel for how reliable Bloomberg is on stuff like this, but surely this kind of allegation merits the benefit of the doubt until we get a little more solid info about the source, no?
  • is sure to pique the interest of the US Department of Justice

    And why is it going to pique their interest if it never happened? The DOJ can do nothing if it never happened. It isn't even likely to be admissible in any other legal challenge Apple may face. In California it is actually illegal to poach employees within 90 days of leaving a company but it happens anyway. I've been poached at least twice in my career.

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