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Steve Jobs Threatened Palm To Stop Poaching Employees 270

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the asymmetry-of-financial-resources dept.
An anonymous reader writes with more news about the no-poach agreements that seemed to plague tech companies. From the article: "Steve Jobs threatened patent litigation if Palm wouldn't agree to stop hiring Apple employees, says former Palm CEO Edward Colligan in a statement dated August 7th, 2012. The allegation is backed up by a trove of recently-released evidence that shows just how deeply Silicon Valley's no-hire agreements pervaded in the mid-2000s. Apple, Google, Intel, and others are the focus of a civil lawsuit into the 'gentleman's agreements,' in which affected employees are fighting for class action status and damages from resulting lost wages, potentially reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars."
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Steve Jobs Threatened Palm To Stop Poaching Employees

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  • Weapons... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Deus.1.01 (946808) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @08:51AM (#42668487) Journal

    Isn't this basically what patents have amounted to now?

    Ammo to gain leverage....and still loose and flexible to be used on practically everything.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @08:59AM (#42668559)

    Companies demand "right to work" laws to protect them from unions, under the pretense that this also gives the worker the right to leave anytime and go work wherever they choose. Exposing crap like this just shows how much a farce that really is. "Right to work" only benefits companies, NEVER employees.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @08:59AM (#42668567)

    Jobs is the reason I have never owned nor ever will own an Apple product. Evil man.

    Nor Oracle products, or use Facebook.

    Yeah, kind of lame, but if everyone would say, enough is enough, things might change. Not holding out much hope for that...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:01AM (#42668587)

    Are you going to extend that to all the other companies that participated in this? For example Google? Because if you read that link, Eric Schmidt not only complies, but even is on record as wanting to do things verbally so there are no paper trails.

    This is a BUNCH of people being fucking colluding dick bags. Singling one out lets the others off the hook.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:01AM (#42668597)

    I wish some of this stuff had come out while he was alive.

    A lot of it did. His asshole rep was pretty well-known long before he died. It just couldn't penetrate through the mass of fanboy and media adoration.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:06AM (#42668647) Homepage Journal

    It's a general corporate douchebaggery problem.. not a problem with an individual corporate douchebag.

    Though what is being said about Jobs isn't probably off the mark, either...

  • by fredprado (2569351) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:08AM (#42668683)
    They are certainly all to blame. That does not prevent us from saying someone specific is an asshole because of that, and does not make it less true either. I am tired of seeing people here thinking that being one among others makes you less guilty than if you were doing it alone.
  • by shentino (1139071) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:08AM (#42668685)

    I wouldn't call it collusion if Apple used the threat of a patent lawsuit to coerce Palm.

    I call that duress.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:09AM (#42668691)

    I don't think California is a "right to work" state.

    But the issue of Poaching or Employees going to a competitor is a problem. Because the company invests in these employees and then they go out to their competitor, to give them value. It is like paying your competitors bills.

    I think the real issue is the complete inadequacies in most companies Human Resource Departments. They need to be active in making sure each worker is getting their market value rate, as well insuring they have opportunity to grow and advance in the organization. Otherwise we have what we have now. Get a job work there for a few years to boost your resume and skills, realize you job is leading you nowhere, then you go to an other company for higher pay and a better position and repeat. Leaving the company that you left having to hire a replacement for you, and probably having to pay the rate your new job got combined with having to train them with the skills needed to work in the organization.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:09AM (#42668695)

    And this is different from any other major, publicly held company how exactly?

    Better PR

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:27AM (#42668875) Homepage

    But the issue of Poaching or Employees going to a competitor is a problem.

    It is only a problem if you haven't made it so that your employees really *want* to work for you. You can do that a lot of ways: high salary, really really nice offices, free lunches for everyone, a 40- or even 36-hour work week, really cool code, etc.

  • Unions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:37AM (#42668971) Homepage Journal
    It is interesting how libertarian some IT people claim to be, but as soon as they can't do what they want to do, they sue. There is nothing wrong, from a libertarian or free market point of view, for a group of companies to form a syndicate for the purpose fo managing employees. There is no shareholder value in companies fighting over employees. This only artificially raises labor costs and is a threat to profit. It is much better to agree between companies that the lowest possible compensation will be offered to a agreed upon pool of labor.

    Now, obviously whiny labor who wants a great deal of money for no work is not going to like this. While the worker could use libertarian and free market values to make his or her life better, such as opening a consulting firm, find a new line of work and an employer outside the syndicate, or work within the rules of management to rise up the defined chain of responsibility, many will attack the system instead.

    For instance, they will ask the government to come into and regulate the businesses by and create a crime where no crime existed by making such syndicates illegal. Or they will tell management that they must follow government rules, not the rules that will naturally create the most efficient labor market that will maximize short term profits. In the most agressive and impetuous cases, labor will organize as if they have the same rights and profit motivations as management and the firms in order to form their own syndicate to maximize the profits of labor.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:46AM (#42669063)

    So now employees are slaves?

    A company does not invest in employees, it pays them for their time. They are not things to own. If the company wants to avoid any "investment", they can only hire employees trained in exactly what they want. If none can be found the company can feel free to close up shop.

    I sell my time, if you want to make my time more valuable to you by training me during this time I am selling you that is your choice. Once the time you have bought has come to an end I owe you nothing. If this was not the case then I would have a pension, and raises that kept me at market salary. Instead we now have to switch jobs to get the market rate as raises never increase at that rate.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:49AM (#42669099)

    Define poaching.

    Palm employees have every right to speak to Apple employees when those Apple employees are not on the clock. Why should calling an Apple employee be any different than calling any any person?

    Apple does not own these folks, and has no right to say who they can speak when not on the clock. Steve Jobs was such an asshole he stole from Woz. You know the guy that without Apple would never have even existed.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:15AM (#42669449)

    I have no reason to give them a better product than any other buyer in the market. If they would give me a reason I would.

    It is not a catch 22 at all. If they want people to stay they must pay market rates. It really is that simple. What they want is to train someone into an expensive employee and not pay that person what he is now worth. While that would be ideal from their point of view, it would also be ideal if a unicorn came into the office and did all the work for free, both options are equally likely.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:15AM (#42669451)

    So you're willing to go without technology altogether? Then what are you doing here? You're a hypocrite.

    I'm willing to boycott products where it's easy for me to not use them. But (since my career is in the tech field) I'm not going to go live under a bridge just because all the big Silicon Valley companies were complicit in this.

  • by eth1 (94901) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:26AM (#42669605)

    I think even employees that didn't look for new jobs should be part of the class. After all, if the companies knew they'd have a hard time leaving, it would allow them to keep they wages of ALL employees lower.

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:11AM (#42670107) Homepage Journal

    If those key engineers were crucial to the company's success (more crucial than all of management, apparently), they should have been payed a wage that reflected their true value. Microsoft simply arbitraged.

    Free market's a bitch, ain't it?

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:14AM (#42670135) Journal
    How about a Ford car? Henry Ford was outright evil. Ever play a record or use a light bulb? Edison was evil as well.
  • by jvkjvk (102057) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:06PM (#42670757)

    > It's quite another if recruiters from Palm are actively poaching their competitors' employees.

    And this is what is wrong with your outlook as well as the outlook of most corporations.

    You seem to feel that these companies own their employees, keeping them on their "employee farms" and only their King can kill them.

    Kind of like cattle.

    Now, please let me know what is wrong with receiving an offer of employment at another firm for a better salary?

    Regards.

  • Re:Unions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbkennel (97636) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:39PM (#42671203)

    | There is no shareholder value in companies fighting over employees. This only artificially raises labor costs and is a threat to profit.

    Why is this "artificial", as opposed to completely expected market phenomenon? Sounds like a very natural free market response.

    | It is much better to agree between companies that the lowest possible compensation will be offered to a agreed upon pool of labor.

    That number is zero.

    | Now, obviously whiny labor who wants a great deal of money for no work is not going to like this

    Whiny plantation owners who wanted a great deal of cotton for no wages didn't like the 13th amendment either.

    Oh, this must be a troll. Sorry I didn't get it before, fundamentalist libertarians are indistinguishable from any parody thereof.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @03:00PM (#42672841)

    What you say is absolutely true. And if it was purely based on intrinsic talent of the employee, then employers wouldn't object to it so much.

    The problem is this scenario: An employee employed and trained by Employer A, much of his worth is what he knows about the industry that he gained whilst working for Employer A plus the secrets of employer A.

    Employer B that poaches him is not just getting the benefit of the talent that the employee brought to the table, but the value that was added by their employment at employer A.

    Employer B may well be poaching as a shortcut to competing with Employer A, taking advantage of information that they wouldn't otherwise have.

    Whilst anti-poaching agreements are illegal in some jurisdictions, others recognise that poaching can be unfair. For example when Symbian's Juha Christensen was poached by Microsoft, the matter was taken to court, and Juha was ordered to delay starting work with Microsoft for 6 months, so that current business secrets would have less value. So called "gardening leave".

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