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Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law 311

Posted by timothy
from the howso-perhaps? dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "James B. Stewart writes in the NYT that recent revelations that Steve Jobs was the driving force in a conspiracy to prevent competitors from poaching employees raises the question: If Steve Jobs were alive today, should he be in jail? Jobs 'was a walking antitrust violation. I'm simply astounded by the risks he seemed willing to take,' says Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law and an expert in antitrust law. 'Didn't he have lawyers advising him? You see this kind of behavior sometimes in small, private or family-run companies, but almost never in large public companies like Apple.' In 2007, Jobs threatened Palm with patent litigation unless Palm agreed not to recruit Apple employees, even though Palm's then-chief executive, Edward Colligan, told him that such a plan was 'likely illegal.' That same year, Jobs wrote Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google at the time, 'I would be extremely pleased if Google would stop doing this,' referring to its efforts to recruit an Apple engineer. When Jobs learned that the Google recruiter who contacted the Apple employee would be 'fired within the hour,' he responded with a smiley face. 'How could anyone have approved that?' says Hovenkamp. 'Any competent antitrust counsel would know that's illegal. And they had to know they'd get caught eventually.'" (Read more, below.)
Pickens continues: "But the anti-poaching pact was hardly Jobs's only brush with the law. Jobs behavior was at the center of an e-book price-fixing conspiracy with major publishers where a federal judge ruled that "Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy." (Apple has appealed the decision. The publishers all settled the case.) Jobs also figured prominently in the options backdating scandal that rocked Silicon Valley eight years ago. An investigation by Apple's lawyers cleared Jobs of wrongdoing, saying he didn't understand the accounting implications but five executives of other companies went to prison for backdating options, while Jobs was never charged.

There's no way of knowing whether Jobs, had he lived and been healthy, would have faced charges, especially since he was a recidivist. Given Jobs's immense popularity, prosecutors might not have wanted to risk a trial, says Hovenkamp. Jobs probably came closest to being prosecuted in the backdating scandal, but by then he was already known to have pancreatic cancer. Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson notes that 'over and over, people referred to his reality distortion field.' Isaacson added, 'The rules just didn't apply to him, whether he was getting a license plate that let him use handicapped parking or building products that people said weren't possible. Most of the time he was right, and he got away with it.'"
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Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:30AM (#46907781)
    Not only did Jobs engage in dirty deals as a businessman, but back in the 1970s he was a very active phone phreaker as well.
    • by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:49AM (#46907873)

      Seriously, where do they get off saying it's rare for big companies to do illegal shit? Name me one that *doesn't* at least walk really close to that line.

      1) break the law
      2) profit
      3) maybe get caught
      4) if caught, pay a fine of 1% of the excess profits

      Why *wouldn't* a company break the law in such circumstances? There is absolutely no reason for it to stop until it becomes routine to either fine corporations an amount much greater than the excess profits (to compensate for all the times they presumably didn't get caught), or it becomes normal to hold the executives personally liable for the corporate actions they endorsed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by knightghost (861069)

        No Enforcement = No Law

      • by es330td (964170) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:34AM (#46908095)
        The only way to fix this is for the people behind decisions to face penalties. Whether or not a corporation is considered an entity, a real person makes every decision, and only holding the people behind a decision to break the law responsible will fix this kind of behavior.
        • by Trepidity (597)

          I think that can work in some circumstances, but it also makes it possible for a company to basically serve up some managers as scapegoats, having them personally take the fall for something that the company nonetheless benefits from.

          How to keep a company, which is a kind of amorphous organism, in line, is a pretty complex problem. I'd personally favor somewhat more structural solutions, like antitrust law with real teeth and regulators with real oversight, over jailing executives. The criminal-responsibili

          • by mauriceh (3721) <maurice.harddata@com> on Saturday May 03, 2014 @02:41PM (#46909085) Homepage

            Why does everyone respond to these situations with such simplistic bullshit "answers"
            Yes, you are right, given a "solution" of ONLY penalizing executives, scapegoats shall be appointed.
            Also, a "solution" of only fines means some small amount will be paid while the perpetrators walk away scot-free.
            The obvious solution is for BOTH to be enforced, along with a real company value devaluing penalty.
            Stock forfeiture in public companies to start with..
            Suspension of trading for a significant interval for another additional penalty.

            If an individual is convicted of committing a crime they risk both forfeiture of assets, AND jail time.
            Why is a company or corporation immune to these measures?

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @12:03PM (#46908251)

        So we're defending Steve Jobs with "Well, everyone does it, of course he does to" now? Steve Jobs was a terrible person. He setup a deal with a local car dealership to switch cars on a regular basis for the sole purpose of never having to get a license plate so he could park in handicap spaces without getting a ticket. He could have had his own parking spot damned near anywhere he went, but no, he was such a huge asshole he couldn't just have the spot, he had to take it from someone else that needed it. Jobs fanboys always like to sweep that fact under the rug... now we also have to sweep the plethora of federal laws he broke just to win... and again, it always had to be at someone else's expense. The guy was a grade A jerk, and hope time will eventually reflect that once everyone finally gets their rose colored glasses off.

        Ok, mod me down Apple fanatics. It's worth the karma.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Where did you see any defense of Jobs? I certainly had no love lost on the guy. I only condemned the author for suggesting that his illegal behavior was somehow atypical.

        • The article also claimed 5 other executives were prosecuted and went to jail for the options backdating charges while Jobs got a pass because he supposedly didn't understand the accounting ramifications that could be caused by his actions. Even if that were true the last time I checked ignorance of the law was not a defense or even a mitigating factor when deciding whether to prosecute someone. People do not rise to the pinnacle of success and wealth by being nice people who always play by the rules. It's j

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Steve Jobs was a terrible person. He setup a deal with a local car dealership to switch cars on a regular basis for the sole purpose of never having to get a license plate so he could park in handicap spaces without getting a ticket. He could have had his own parking spot damned near anywhere he went, but no, he was such a huge asshole he couldn't just have the spot, he had to take it from someone else that needed it. Jobs fanboys always like to sweep that fact under the rug...

          Jobs was exactly what the ave

      • by Mike_EE_U_of_I (1493783) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @12:32PM (#46908399)

        Seriously, where do they get off saying it's rare for big companies to do illegal shit? Name me one that *doesn't* at least walk really close to that line.

        I've consulted in big companies for quite a while. My experience has been that most of time, most people are trying to obey all the laws. That said, yes, "the line" does get crossed. In all the cases I've personally seen, "the line" was crossed either because of ignorance or for precisely the reason you state (the fine is lower than the expected profit).

        And that's why this case is astonishing. Steve Jobs went so far over the line, he might have wound up in jail. That's something I've not seen. You know why no banker went to jail? I've seen this shit in meetings. Someone proposes something that is illegal. The discussion then focuses on costs and profits. It then moves to plausible deniability and the chance of going to jail. If the conclusion is that there is the slightest chance someone will go to jail, that's it. That idea is dead dead dead.

          Steve Jobs, like the Honey Badger, didn't care. He left a trail, IN WRITING, that could have put him in jail.

        Insanely illegal.

        • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ish' in gap]> on Saturday May 03, 2014 @01:46PM (#46908779)

          I agree it's uncommon in large companies. I think it's something you only tend to find in companies that are kind of the personal fiefdom of a strongly opinionated person who is much bigger into risk-taking than a professional management would be. For example Rupert Murdoch makes some decisions [wikipedia.org] with his business empire that a professional group of managers would probably not risk, because he has extra-corporate goals (like promoting certain political agendas) and a bit of a belief in his own untouchability.

      • I think they mean its rare for them to get caught or prosecuted for it.

        The only real crime in the USA is not being able to pull it off.

        There is no rule of law. Its simply what you can get away with.
      • It's probably not so much that other companies don't do illegal shit, but rather, that they at least try to mask it in some degree of legitimacy. Even crime syndicates tend to put up efforts to have legitimate fronts for their illegal behavior, as opposed to sending unsecure emails threatening others to make them illegally conspire with them.
  • Bad Apple (Score:2, Funny)

    by ZigiSamblak (745960)
    I think there's a worm in this apple.
  • Simple (Score:4, Informative)

    by rainer_d (115765) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:37AM (#46907809) Homepage
    He was going to die. And he knew it. So he was able to take risks that no one else was going to take.
    Because he knew: whatever he did (short of doing an OJ-Simpson style stupidity), he would only be judged by his achievements, the products he created.
    Nobody remembers Charlie Chaplin for his three teenager-wifes and pre-marriage pregnancies - even though it was a major scandal even back then.
    What lives on are his works.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not exactly. He was well known for believing that some rules didn't apply to him, e.g. not putting a license plate on his car and parking in handicap spots. He just got to be rich and powerful enough that some rules pretty much didn't apply to him.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That seems to be a big reason for wanting to be rich and powerful. You get to flout the rules. You see this mentality all the time, from buying a license to speed [priceonomics.com] to Leona Helmsley's assertion that only the little people pay taxes. [barrypopik.com]

    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Travis Mansbridge (830557) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:54AM (#46907893)
      Jobs was the only tech industry giant with the gall to assume that he deserved a cut of every piece of software sold over his company's platforms, and this is why they made multiple pushes to take over and lock down the entire software industry. I'm not saying Windows or Android are better, but at least those users can run whatever software they want. Jobs was always a megalomaniac.
      • the only tech industry giant with the gall to assume

        Obviously, the pancreatic tumor compressed his bile duct. Yay for human anatomy!

      • Jobs was the only tech industry giant with the gall to assume that he deserved a cut of every piece of software sold over his company's platforms

        You seem to have forgotten Nintendo, who had that model since the 1980s. In fact it's the industry standard model for consoles. All attempts at more open consoles for which anyone can publish games have failed.

        Then you have the paradox that even though there are more Android phones out there, there is more software sold for iPhones.

        The reality is that having a single publisher, rules, and at least some quality controls, are things that most consumers like.

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by stenvar (2789879) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:15AM (#46907987)

      He was going to die. And he knew it. So he was able to take risks that no one else was going to take.

      That's not what happened. His cancer was likely easily treatable and curable when it was discovered. But Jobs refused "conventional treatment" and went for a "holistic approach". By the time he went back to regular doctors, many months later, it was too late. And instead of the heroic dying hero you try to make him out as, there is fairly little he accomplished after that.

      Jobs did "think different" and it killed him.

      • His cancer was likely easily treatable and curable when it was discovered.

        Except that when pancreatic cancer manifests itself, it's already too late. In fact, Jobs was simply very fortunate to be in the minority of pancreatic cancer patients eligible for the Whipple procedure, which is very far from "holistic approach" and dangerously close to hemicorporectomy in the level of invasiveness. And he underwent it and went on to live something like ten times longer than you'd expect from an average pancreatic cancer patient. Hadn't he been one of those lucky few, there would be little

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          Except that when pancreatic cancer manifests itself, it's already too late.

          Probably not in his case:

          Steve Jobs had a mild form of cancer that is not usually fatal, but seems to have ushered along his own death by delaying conventional treatment in favor of alternative remedies, a Harvard Medical School researcher and faculty member says. Jobs's intractability, so often his greatest asset, may have been his undoing.

          And:

          According to a 2008 Fortune article, Jobs for nine months pursued "alternative methods to

        • Wrong Cancer (Score:3, Insightful)

          by meehawl (73285)

          Except that when pancreatic cancer manifests itself, it's already too late.

          Except Jobs didn't have a standard "pancreatic cancer", that is, usually an exocrine adenocarcinoma . He had a neuroendocrine insulinoma [wikipedia.org]. That's a quite atypical variant, indolent, localised, and eminently resectable with a much lower probability of mets if caught early when compared with an adenocarcinoma.

      • by gutnor (872759)

        heroic dying hero

        Parent explained that Jobs could be a giant cunt because history would only remember his achievements, not his weaknesses. How the fuck did you read that as treating him as a hero. That's about as anti-hero description as you could get: "Yeah, he did some good stuff, not by courage, just because he had nothing to lose and tried all sort of shits to be remembered"

        You can get toilet printed with its picture if you need to vent you anger.

    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:30AM (#46908075)

      IMHO, the problem is that Jobs didn't invent light bulbs or put on a good act to be remembered. He made toys, and in 5-10 years, the "insanely great" products may be something of yesteryear. People don't remember Sony's MP3 devices which were groundbreaking, nor Creative and the Nomad Jukebox which was one of the first popular players.

      With that in mind, he seemed to leave a lot of negative legacies. His ship and the large sums of money owed on that, the handicapped parking place issue (be it real or a rumor), and the fact that he is on record for giving $0 to any charity. There isn't a Jobs foundation for the arts. Nor is there a Jobs foundation for anything. He might have donated behind the scenes, but that doesn't matter to history where it matters what is on the books.

      One can contrast him to the 19th century robber barons. They at least left behind hospitals, schools, foundations, and trusts as a legacy which persists today.

      IMHO, once his devices become items from a bygone time, there won't be much positive that Jobs will be remembered for other than yet another brutal CEO.

      • People don't remember Sony's MP3 devices which were groundbreaking,

        I'm pretty sure you mean MiniDisc, and yes, for a while, I was a *god* walking the Earth with my MZ-1.

    • by fermion (181285)
      There is also precedent, in that executives almost never go to jail for white collar crime. The company pays fines, get sued and pays damages, may even warrant government oversight, but not jail. About the only time when this does happen is when the management is so horrible that the company goes bankrupt. these people don't go to jail for being criminals, but for being incompetent. Really, this is most criminals. Competent criminals are less likely to be caught and convicted. And even if they are convic
    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      He was going to die.

      Jobs was doing stuff like this long before the cancer was involved. In one of the first financial transaction in the software industry Jobs stole $1000 from his partner Wozniac. They wrote a game for Atari and were supposed to split the fee. Jobs told Woz he only got $500 when he actually got $2500. The "I'll do what I want" attitude was there probably most of his life.

      What lives on are his works.

      Maybe not if enough people like me keep bringing up the reality rather than the hype.

    • I don't think his mortality or even his ego to the next generation was his consideration. I think it is a common situation that the big CEO's and other rich people have today.
      We tend to forget the actual feeling of being poor and struggling. I remember the time I was laid off, I remember feeling bad however I am unable to empathize with my past self. So as they get rich and successful they really forget how to empathize with the issues of their employees. The issues that have happened to them in the past

  • No way of knowing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ATMAvatar (648864) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:39AM (#46907819) Journal

    It seems pretty silly to ask whether Jobs would have gone to jail. Of course he wouldn't.

    Between his celebrity status and bankroll, there's a snowball's chance in hell that he could get convicted of anything, barring committing the crime right there in the courtroom.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, whatever deal he made would include "no admission of wrongdoing"

    • It seems pretty silly to ask whether Jobs would have gone to jail. Of course he wouldn't.

      Well, we could always pull a Pope Formosus on him and ask him personally. ;)

  • by briancox2 (2417470) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:40AM (#46907823) Homepage Journal
    I can't seems to stop a suspicion from forming in the back of my mind that somewhere someone is trying to shift blame on the recent news of anti-trust behavior onto the one guy who is no longer here. Doesn't it take 2 to tango? In this very news story, I read that Google was complicate in the scheme of preventing a competitive job market. So let's report on the story that should be reported, please -- Who in Google is going to jail over this?
    • by Trepidity (597)

      It looks like Google's CEO Eric Schmidt was the main point person on their side. This story [pando.com] has excerpts from a good number of the emails.

      However it appears Jobs was the instigator. Schmidt appears not to have attempted to organize a no-poaching pact, but instead just agreed to one when Jobs, in kind of angry language, demanded one. Not sure if that makes a legal difference, but Jobs's actions certainly come across as worse, since they were a more deliberate attempt to create a cartel, while Schmidt seems t

  • by romanval (556418) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:49AM (#46907875)

    that the best programmers/software engineers are astoundingly more productive; something like 10 to 25 times faster then average ones. He obviously wanted to do what it took to retain them, since he was knew that his new product developments relied on impossibly fast deadlines.

    • by sideslash (1865434) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:54AM (#46907897)

      that the best programmers/software engineers are astoundingly more productive; something like 10 to 25 times faster then average ones. He obviously wanted to do what it took to retain them, since he was knew that his new product developments relied on impossibly fast deadlines.

      I have an amazing, original idea for retaining talent. Ready for this? ........ Pay them a competitive salary.

      • that the best programmers/software engineers are astoundingly more productive; something like 10 to 25 times faster then average ones. He obviously wanted to do what it took to retain them, since he was knew that his new product developments relied on impossibly fast deadlines.

        I have an amazing, original idea for retaining talent. Ready for this? ........ Pay them a competitive salary.

        I have a better one. Kidnap them and chain them to benches, lash them as needed and feed them gruel.

        It worked for galleys, so let's bring back the Good Old Days!

      • There are programmers who are an order of magnitude more productive than the average ones. But there are very few of them. And it is not all that unusual. The best golfers, chess grandmasters, top R&D scientists are like to be an order of magnitude more productive. Heck, you could extend it to actors and celebrities, you just have to redefine productivity by box office receipts instead of acting ability.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          >hat the best programmers/software engineers are astoundingly more productive; something like 10 to 25 times faster then average ones

          I think this is a community myth - proficiency exams don't show people who are 25 times faster at writing CS exams. How could they? Code isn't about speed, it's about depth of thought and planning.

          So is there any actual proof for this besides anecdotal perceptions? I've seen coders who work all day and night and thus produce more, but on an hourly basis the amount and qu

          • by Geeky (90998)

            It's not the amount. It's the ideas - getting things done. I've known programmers who can work a week on something and produce a thousand lines of convoluted code full of bugs. Someone else can come in, see the problem differently, and knock out a solution in a few dozen lines - which may have the odd bug to be ironed out, but simply due to the number of lines of code will have an order of magnitude fewer.

            The ones that are 10 times more productive simply have a better grasp of which algorithm to use, as wel

          • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @02:00PM (#46908837) Journal
            Productivity of the good programmers is very seriously under estimated. A bad algorithm to solve a problem will suck in so much or resources in implementation, debugging and maintenance. When such a code is retired/replaced by fundamentally better algorithm the performance improvement would be orders of magnitude better. Productivity is (output/input). If we define output as the problem solved and the input as the resources consumed during creation, maintenance and execution of the code, you would see the good programmers one order of magnitude better than average one. Great programmers could easily achieve two or even three orders of magnitude improvement on a module that has a service life of 20 years. When a great algorithm is implemented the first time, even people intimately involved with the project might not have a full idea of how much of resource wastage has been averted.

            On the other hand if you define output as so many lines of code and the input as so many hours spent on the keyboard, you would get a totally useless metric. Call it anything you want, but please, please do not call it productivity.

      • It's basically impossible to pay your employees what they're worth while still retaining exorbitant executive compensation (and still turn a profit). I'll let you do the math on who's going to get the short end of that stick.
      • I have an amazing, original idea for retaining talent. Ready for this? ........ Pay them a competitive salary.

        I'm pretty sure Apple do pay their engineers well. But whatever you pay them, there will always be another company that will come along and pay a bit more.

        • I have an amazing, original idea for retaining talent. Ready for this? ........ Pay them a competitive salary.

          I'm pretty sure Apple do pay their engineers well.

          Depends on whom you ask. My own understanding is that Apple has a culture of demanding utter company devotion and secrecy from their employees, but does not have a reputation of paying the highest engineering salaries. I don't work in Apple HR nor am I an Apple employee, so it's just hearsay.

          But whatever you pay them, there will always be another company that will come along and pay a bit more.

          That's why I said "a competitive salary". If somebody else is willing to pay a bit more, then your salary is not competitive (at least, not successfully).

          • That's why I said "a competitive salary". If somebody else is willing to pay a bit more, then your salary is not competitive (at least, not successfully).

            No, that's the old "perfect market" codswallop. There isn't a magic number that is the correct worth of a commodity (in this case a person's labour). Just as there isn't a magic number for what a house is worth, or a stock. Prices are drummed up by people who make commission from doing so. There is no upper limit.

            • I didn't say there was a magic number. I said there was a competition. And the way to win that competition is by paying your guys/gals more, not by secretly breaking the law.
              • And I'm saying there is no "competitive figure" of pay that will stop your competitors offering more. So it's not the solution that you claimed it was.

      • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

        When companies strategically recruit from other companies, it is an unbalanced position. When you have a need, you can afford (or at least justify) paying up 10% above market rate to get someone who will make a difference. That doesn't mean the employee is worth the 10% extra in general, but the real-time market value is higher.

        Recruiting is a grey art. It isn't easy to balance what is fair when you are chasing someone who is content at their current job.

        Well, it is if you just treat your employees as co

      • Study after study shows that when it comes to engineers and people in the sorts of professions /. readers tend to be, once you reach a certain point, increased pay stops being an effective incentive for retaining talent. More important is the nature of the work, the problem being solved, the challenge it poses, and the culture of the company.

        Mind you, I'm not suggesting that this information in any way excuses paying people competitive wages (it ABSOLUTELY does not); I merely offer it as an explanation for

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:17AM (#46908001)

    I worked as a contractor at Apple for some years in the early 1980s. I was offered a permanent position there which I turned down. In those days Apple was small and I interacted with Jobs on a semi-regular basis.

    Inside Apple, Jobs was a capricious tyrant who inspired fear or loyalty depending on whether he liked you or not. The stories about him are legion. He liked people to challenge him, to a point, but if you went over that point he would never listen to you again. He felt that he understood what users wanted much better than the user experience people (maybe correctly). He was the ultimate micro-manager. He gave a few secretaries a $50k spending limit when their boss might have a $5k limit (or less in one case). He ignored convention - but only when that helped him. He hated colored screen output - Woz had to sneak in the 6 colors the Apple II had. In the early days he swindled Woz out of profits from a joint venture. He considered most people as objects to be used to achieve his objectives. He considered laws as something to be worked around. I'm reasonably convinced he had very little or no conscience.

    But he knew what he wanted from people. Customer experience was everything. He could charm people when he felt he needed to. He was loyal to people in his inner circle (mostly). He would not compromise if he felt this would result in an inferior product. He had very high expectations of people's work output (and he let them know in no uncertain terms when they didn't meet those expectations).

    He had his good side and his bad side. He was not a suitable person to run a company. Firing him was the best thing that could have happened because it changed him fundamentally. He actually started to be concerned about what others thought, and realized that and sometimes you have to listen to them, and on occasion someone else could be right. But be in no doubt, at the bottom of his heart he still considered other people as stepping stones to help him go where he wanted to go - to provide money as investors or customers, to create products for him to sell, or to help him sell those products.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by superwiz (655733)
      I would argue that selling the products was also a stepping stone for him. He was more concerned with building great products. That was always the fundamental difference between Apple and MS. Microsoft was all about marketing and maybe delivering what they promised. Apple was about building the one true right thing and believing that it will sell because it will be better than anything else. This is why Google will eventually beat both the Apple philosophy and the MS philosophy. Google's mission is not
  • There's no way of knowing whether Jobs, had he lived and been healthy, would have faced charges, especially since he was a recidivist.

    Based on the context I'm guessing they've taken "recidivist" to mean "a rich and famous person". Funny, I'm not familiar with that definition.

  • Yes, evidently he did, and pretty good ones too. Nobody went to jail, and Apple is doing great. Risky business? Maybe, but it paid off.

    • I'm pretty sure that a number of his emails have ended up costing Apple a pretty penny in antitrust suits. A good lawyer would have advised him to engage in his illegal activities with a bit more subtlety, either doing so in person, or at least having his emails use innuendo.
    • by Trepidity (597)

      I doubt any lawyer signed off on some of the "smoking gun" emails that have surfaced. At the very least a good lawyer would advise you not to put it a demand to form a wage-fixing cartel in writing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think Steve Jobs was a psychopathic individual.

    It wouldn't surprise me if Larry Ellison is, too.

    • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @12:25PM (#46908357) Homepage Journal

      No. The word you are looking for is sociopath. Jobs did not display violent behavior and he was not unstable. He was, however, un-empathic to those around him and displayed anti-social behavior.

      I'm a Mac user and I really like my Apple products, but I don't mythologize or worship Steve Jobs. He was driven to make cool stuff but as with most people who affect the world in big ways he was doing it strictly for reasons of ego.

      And yes, Larry Ellison is, too.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        Larry Ellison makes great products?

      • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@CURIE ... minus physicist> on Saturday May 03, 2014 @01:08PM (#46908611)

        There are many, many, many accounts of Steve Job's having frequent, spastic, and yes violent outbursts. We tend to excuse it because he was passionate, am I right?

        Secondly, there is substantial evidence that Jobs was unstable. His emotional rollercoastering, OCD, and again passion are often just passed off as you know, just how it is. He essentially committed suicide by failing to believe he was mortal, and did not turn to medicine to heal his sick body until it was too late to be saved. There are numerous accounts of his epic, days long LSD trips, benders, and other substance abuse.

        I am not saying the case is 100% solid, but there is more than enough probable cause to suggest Jobs was a psychopath.

  • The person who got fired was an HR person -- not the employee who was contacted. Imagine if Apple HR started blindly calling up Google employees trying to lure them away and Google HR trying to lure Apple employees away. It's one thing when employees start looking around and reach out on their own or do so through recruiters. It's quite another for internal company recruiters trying to lure away employees from other companies. They had a deal to not destabilize each others' business. If that deal went
  • For all of the books and documentaries that worship Steve Jobs as our technological lord and savior, I would like to see one dedicated to pointing out just how much of an unscrupulous, narcissistic bastard he was. It's amazing how much people are willing to sweep under the rug when you give them shiny things. It would have been interesting to see how things turned out for Brendan Eich, had he been the same kind of media darling.
    • by killhour (3468583) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:56AM (#46908223)
      Jobs was well known to be a sociopath. He cared nothing for people or anything that didn't directly further his vision. That's part of what made him such a successful artist and business man, but it's very obvious to anyone that spent any time at all with him that he just didn't care about the law or anything that he saw as standing in his way of getting what he wanted. Just watch any video with him talking about his competitors. He's dismissive, and rude, and obnoxious. And for some reason, people loved him for it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • "How could anyone have approved that?"

    Because Steve Jobs was an ASSHOLE.

    I take no delight in his death, it's very sad that he was struck down in such a manner but it doesn't change the fact that he had a thirty year history of being a raging asshole to people.

    LK

  • In any corporate social hierarchy, there are the existing network of the "Old Boys" that used to gather in smokey back rooms, and private clubs in big wing-backed chairs, talking about what they were doing, and to whom...

    Today, there's a digital social network that exists, but the social connections that have no traces still exist.

    Such unwritten agreements shaped the development of many a huge cash-based community. Las Vegas is but a single example.

    If you were among the Elite, you knew the rules, and could

  • Hard to find anyone with a butt load of money AND ethics.

    Not sure it's possible.....

  • Apple is a thief (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danheskett (178529)

    Apple is a thief. If ever a company deserved to be given the corporate death penalty, it's Apple. I present my point of view with three supporting factors:

    1. Preventing employees from sharing in the wealth generated by the company is a monumentally criminal undertaking. Only a very few employees are ever the subject of a bidding war amoung competitors. It's the Holy Grail of being an employee. It creates positive ripple effects throughout the entire economic system. Increased wages and pay also creat

  • > Given Jobs's immense popularity, prosecutors might not have wanted to risk a trial,

    This is why I'm an Anarchist.

  • .... haha that's adorable.

    If he didn't have lawyers advising him, do you think he'd have gotten away with this?

  • Lay all the blame on is the dead guy who can't be punished.

  • When was the last time you heard of a CEO of a big company doing jail time when his/her company was wrongdoing? It's the privilege of wealth not to be questioned about your nasty business.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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