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Google Patents The Courts Apple

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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  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:51AM (#42668481) Homepage

    It's still surprising when we get a bit more data on exactly *how much* of a dick he was. I wish some of this stuff had come out while he was alive.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:57AM (#42668533) Homepage
    It doesn't affect me directly but I really do hope that this ends in an eye-bleedingly high cost to the companies found to have colluded. They manipulated the labour market to artificially keep wages down and that needs to be punished by costs so big that anyone considering it in the future would have to be certifiably insane.

    Factor in that the cost to employees could potentially be equivalent to years of lost wages and the ability to utilise this money and it really wouldn't be unreasonable to see a figure of a few $100,000 per employee theoretically covered by the no hire agreement. Give them that figure then take double as much as a fine to penalise the behaviour and you could be talking considerably more than a billion dollars and that imo is exactly what they deserve.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:07AM (#42668661)

    Corporations are such a huge interference in the free market, I'm not sure the answer is to create something just as powerful that can counterbalance it. I think we might want to restrict what a corporation is a bit more. I'm not sure that limited liability makes sense for the people making the day-to-day decisions. Limited liability should probably only apply to passive investors.

    Remember that corporations are a simple trick of law, and we can do with them as we please.

  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:20AM (#42668801)

    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,

    When Microsoft wanted to destroy Borland, they offered key engineers way above market rate to leave. They didn't want them to do anything special at Microsoft, they just wanted to bleed Borland. It worked.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:33AM (#42668931) Journal

    It doesn't affect me directly but I really do hope that this ends in an eye-bleedingly high cost to the unions. They manipulated the labor market to artificially keep wages high and that needs to be punished by costs so big that anyone considering it in the future would have to be certifiably insane.

    See cuts both ways. The best thing for the market is to disallow all collusion.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:05AM (#42669313)

    "So now employees are slaves?"

    No. I didn't say that.
    I just pointed out that employee turn over is bad for the company. If they really want to reduce the turn over they need to make working there better.

    A company does invest in their employees. When you start a job, there is a period of time where you learn the ropes, figure out the details of your job. They don't just drop you and go. Their is investment, granted now there is less investment then before.

    However we are in a catch 22 problem. Companies cannot invest too much in their employees because there is just to much turn over. There is too much turn over because they don't feel that they are invested in the company.

    It isn't about what you owe the company, it is about the company trying to keep you there. However if you have any sense of work ethic, and the company does give you some training, you should attempt to be sure your services are valuable to the company, not that you owe them anything, but you are selling your services and you should try to give them a good product for their money.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:16AM (#42669467) Homepage

    I recall a year ago our HR department announcing how "we have been reaching out to other companies to assure that your wages are extremely competitive." I also noted that there were no significant raises issued after this announcement. So if somethings was adjusted or changed to assure competitiveness, what was it? Agreements such as these? A reminder that other companies should lower their salary rates?

    There is a bunch of this stuff going on which I always thought was illegal. But if it's not, it needs to be.

  • by bobbied (2522392) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:32AM (#42669661)

    This is an interesting story considering that in Cali, employee non-compete contracts are not enforceable.

    In effect, the result of such "no poaching" agreements was to have the same affect as the non-compete contract with the employee. Employees would be restrained from changing jobs and going to a competitor. Give them class status. This seems like a problem for the Cali courts to figure out.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.