Apple Genuinely Unhappy About Their Employees Going to Palm | webOS Nation
 
 

Apple Genuinely Unhappy About Their Employees Going to Palm 31

by Dieter Bohn Thu, 20 Aug 2009 9:24 am EDT

The growing consensus is that yesterday's iTunes screenshots which showed Apple opening it up to 3rd party devices were faked. That's no surprise, really, because we didn't expect the heat between Palm and Apple to cool. Today we have a story at Bloomberg confirming that tensions between the two companies has actually been simmering for quite a long time.

Apparently back in 2007 - i.e. just when Palm was beginning the process of reinventing itself - Steve Jobs asked Ed Colligan to join a deal with Apple to not poach each others' employees.  Bloomberg has the story:

Apple’s CEO, told Colligan he was concerned that Rubinstein was recruiting Apple employees. “We must do whatever we can to stop this,” Jobs said in the communications

Colligan rebuffed jobs, calling the suggestion "likely illegal."  The rest, as you know, is history - Palm went on a former Apple employee hiring binge.  It had already started with now-CEO Jon Rubinstein and went up and down the chain. Steve Jobs was reported to be very angry about Palm hiring Apple engineers - Fake Steve Jobs' post back in January 08 on the subject is starting to look less like parody and more like prescience.

The proposed deal, if it happened and if it had gone through, likely would have been illegal enough for the Department of Justice to investigate, writes Bloomberg.  Indeed, the specter of such an investigation may have spurred Palm to release the relevant documents to Bloomberg in the first place.

The interesting twist here is that we've heard rumors of Apple actually having such a deal with Google. What this looks like to me is that Palm  letting it be known to the world that their main competitor has a history of this sort of thing in light of a possible DOJ investigation into Apple/Google collusion.

If this were a Fake Jon Rubinstein blog, I'd be writing "Hm, the government is investigating ties between Apple and Google? Turns out they have a history of trying to make these deals.  I'm not saying, I'm just saying."

If you thought Palm had chutzpah before with the iTunes back and forth, how do you like these Apples?

[via The iPhone Blog]

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31 Comments

You got to give Palm credit for their Cojones! Makes you want to grab some popcorn and watch how this all plays out!

I like Palm more and more. they're like the ballsy underdog who's trying to make a name for himself by going for the biggest baddest dog in the yard.

Whatever. The companies don't own their employees. People who worked for Palm were hired to work on the iPhone because the relevant skills were the same. They already had experience designing a touchscreen smart device. It makes sense that people who worked on the iPhone would be hired by Palm.

It's similar to how I do video work and I have worked for many video companies. It's my skill set to I look for work doing those things that fit with my abilities.

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I think if the Pre is to be successful, this is exactly what Palm needs to do. They need to take on Apple head to head.

I think it is also important to note/quote from another article on this subject:

"...told the Apple CEO, noting

That is the point I was looking for in Dieter's article. I think it adds to story and helps us understand Apple's modus operandi. If I were Colligan I would have told Apple no also. Not only for legal reasons but they hired 2% of my staff years prior!

Apple has been raiding the Palm wireless group for quite a while now. Apple even hired away Palm's wireless VP. The wireless group in Palm is in a shambles now and you can see that in the quality of the phone performance of the Pre.

The wrong you do in secret....will eventually come to light.....hear that Apple???.

This is entertainment lol

I love my Mac, but Apple truly does their best to motivate peoples eyes in other directions...

What is up with their PR department...going from Gleeming Beacons of Hope to just another Tool Shoved in the Corner...

Wow, didn't realize how bad things could get with Steve out on medical leave.

How bad they could get with Steve out? Steve has been the driver behind these anti-competitive decisions. The only thing that might have changed is Apple actually letting out some of their evil, rather than properly being contained by the sorcerer that is Jobs.

Dieter, I just wanted to throw a +1 at you for using the "Good Will Hunting" how do you like them apples! :-D LOVES ITS!!!!

-Silversuperman

Do these engineers not sign NDAs/non-competition clauses when they were hired at Apple? When I was hired at Sony Ericsson, my NDA/non-competition clause stated I couldn't work for a competitor for a year after my employment with Sony Ericsson ended. I'm not sure how they track this or if it was even legal though.

At least in the Podfather Rubenstein's case, there was a non-competition clause that he honored, allowing him an extended vacation before coming to Palm.

I thought these types of agreements were stuck down as illegal by the courts because they deny an individual the right to make a living. It hasn't stopped companies from having folks fill out the forms though, but I don't think they hold up in court. As long as no trade secrets are passed along the individual should be free to seek employment whereever they want.

I think you are correct. I was remembering from some earlier article, perhaps incorrectly.

You are absolutely correct... Non-competes are void in California except in very specific cases, and at least according to wikipedia have been so since the original CA civil code in 1872. I'm sure that there are lots of gentlemen's agreements between companies not to poach, but those agreements would likely be seen by the courts as discriminatory towards employees.

Apple are A**holes!
If Apple does not have employee's sign a contract forbidding them to work for competitors for x amount of time after they leave, then they should just shut the F up already!!!!
This is why some companies do this.If Apple does not, enough said.

Competition is a GREAT thing!!!! If former Apple employees want to work for a company that allows them more freedom, believes in their vision, or whatever the reason, they should be allowed to if not under contractual obligations.

Palm will never be nearly as large as Apple. Apple really is the number two computer company and has a HUGE following. They are not hurting. They won't be hurting. They are fine and should not worry about the flea on the elephant.

Seems like the "Old" Apple employees that jumped Apple's ship are going to be Unhappy if Palm keeps going in the direction they are. The stock is falling, analysts mostly have nothing good to say, no updates, no new news, no "amazing" applications (home brew out of the picture). They are dropping the ball, and fast.

When will Palm truly learn? It seems like they have a ghost of the past that keeps haunting their business attitude. I think they were looking for a quick home run , and they got a double instead.

Not sure I understand this post. There have been 4 updates since the phone was released on June 6th (compare that to around 1/year for the Treo 755p). There have been quite a few press releases since then (one just a few days about speaking to the app catalog and paid apps). The "amazing" applications are still in development and they are not all being done by Palm. I have personally been in touch with Palm with questions relating to the app I'm developing and they have always answered my emails in under 24 hours. The stock is doing what stock does. It's mostly up but is not immune to market conditions.

How exactly is Palm dropping the ball? Seems they are doing a much better job than they were doing with the Treo line in terms of updates, etc. No company is perfect, but I see a marked difference (read improvement) in Palm as a company now compared to the various versions of Palm in the past.

I agree with taharka.

WTF cares who you agree with?

Was the agreement not to hire, or not to poach? If an employee is unhappy at one company and wants to go work for another company and seeks out the other company for employment there can be no agreement between the companies that prevents that employee from being hired. That would be illegal.

If one company solicits the employees of another company and then hires them, that is poaching. An agreement between the two companies not to poach each other's employees is not illegal. It just means the two companies would not actively solicit each other's employees. It should not prevent anyone from being hired if they pursued it on their own.

Why would Bloomberg run such a flammable story mentioning "communications" but then say nothing in the story was actually IN the communications themselves?

re" Do these engineers not sign NDAs/non-competition clauses when they were hired at Apple? When I was hired at Sony Ericsson, my NDA/non-competition clause stated I couldn't work for a competitor for a year after my employment with Sony Ericsson ended. I'm not sure how they track this or if it was even legal though."

These do not hold up in court. A company which is no longer paying you has no right to tell you where you can and can not work. After all, you need to earn a living, right? Are you supposed to switch careers/industries because of an NDA/non-compete? These are empty scare tactics.

GOOD. If Apple's unhappy, I'm happy :D

There's a big difference between people who have previously worked at Apple and people who were working at Apple. The high profile ones didn't come directly from Apple to Palm, there were years inbetween. I'm sure there are employees at Palm who previously worked at Microsoft or Google and vis versa. If that's what you do for a living then when you leave one company it's almost guaranteed you'll be going to work for a competitor.

What happened to little Stevie? Afraid to loose the real brains of Pinapple? So if Jobs is real good as people allways say, why he need those people? why care about it? Get a Job Steve! =P

Botton line that shows who are the real fathers of almost all Pinapple products.

What are you babbling about? "Allways"? ... in the same post where you assess the brains of (something called) Pineapple? Come on now! =p

Jobs is a slimey, sneaky scumbag, well known fact.