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back to article Dead Steve Jobs' patent war threat to Palm over 'no-hire pact'

Steve Jobs threatened the CEO of Palm with a patent bash-up if he didn't stop nicking Apple employees, a court filing in an antitrust lawsuit has revealed. Apple and other tech defendants, including Google and Intel, are the subject of a civil suit brought by five tech workers alleging that the firms conspired to eliminate …

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Wasn't it around that time…

That Apple and Palm got into an update battle to stop/allow users from using iTunes to transfer songs to their Palm?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wasn't it around that time…

True, which is probably why Palm were so keen to hire people from Apple.

While they're not allowed to take sensitive documentation with them, they can take what is in their heads. Some companies have a policy of not putting hired employees on competing projects to their former employers, to avoid litigation.

Anyway, while employers don't own employees there is a big difference between employees leaving and getting a job somewhere else and employers head-hunting people at a rival to gain an advantage.

Motorola's PowerPC processor struggled after Intel poached so many crucial people from Motorola.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wasn't it around that time…

"there is a big difference between employees leaving and getting a job somewhere else and employers head-hunting people at a rival to gain an advantage"

I don't agree - a company will go to a head-hunting firm and say what skills they require. That firm will do whatever it takes to get the staff in for interview and placed so that they can get their 40% or so blood money after the employee has been retained for 6 months.

I know this is in the US, but in Europe it is forbidden to hinder the transfer of staff thanks to restrictive practices initiated by European football (read Soccer) clubs : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosman_ruling I'm sure in the land of the free there is similar legislation.

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Re: Wasn't it around that time…

Europe may forbid hindering the transference of staff, but in Switzerland there is a no-compete clause written into the standard contract law for workers, which I think is for a year. My understanding is that this means not going to a direct competitor within a year, nor starting your own company and poaching customers from your old employer within a year.

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Vic
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Re: Wasn't it around that time…

> in Switzerland there is a no-compete clause written into the standard contract

The same clause is in most contracts of employment throughout the EU. It's essentially unenforceable.

Vic.

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g e
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Trollface

So why'd these employees wanna leave

If apple are so godlike to work for.

Oh, apple weren't even in the top 100 best co's to work for, you say?

(P.S. need a worm-on-a-hook icon for 'bait')

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Boffin

Re: So why'd these employees wanna leave

You bait well.

Evidently you're a master...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So why'd these employees wanna leave

Simple, if someone offered to double your salary you might leave? they would be paying you those vast sums because they were desperate to gain an advantage.

But of course, it would be a big gamble, where are Palm now?

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Anonymous Coward

where are Palm now?

..in the palm of my sticky-with-apple-juice hand

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Re: So why'd these employees wanna leave

"Simple, if someone offered to double your salary you might leave?"

And if you were worth that much to Apple they would match the offer wouldn't they? Otherwise if your skills are worth twice as much to another company you'd have to have rocks in your head to stick with your current employer - its called the free market.

The attempted arrangement was about saving Apple money having to pay full market wages, not about principles...

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Meh

Steve Jobs was a megalomanic and a twat. I really don't find this surprising in the least.

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Coments from his Biography?

What I heard spoken about his background makes me glad I never met him and never will, nasty little sh*t was too generous an epithet.

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"no-poaching" agreements

I think that the use of the expression 'poaching' gives the impression that large companies regard their staff as farm or game animals. Oh, .....wait a minute.

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Re: "no-poaching" agreements

Nope, as "resources" - something to use up.

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Re: "no-poaching" agreements

Well, the phrase 'head-hunting' sounds like companies are pygmies in a Rider Haggard book, and "Brain Drain" sounds like torment inflicted by school bullies. I think you might be reading too much into it.

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Unhappy

Re: "no-poaching" agreements

It's worse than "resources". These days it's "resource", an amorphous pool of something with no individual component parts.

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Re: "no-poaching" agreements

That's why they need an HR department. Someone has to go wading into the pool in order to pick a body to fill the latest hole and cut individual pay checks as it's more efficient than just tossing orts into the pool.

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Big Brother

Jobs

He made good products, but damn was he an arsehole.

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Re: Jobs

I guess that's why he went into tech and didn't run a hotel in Torquay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jobs

I once had an employer who'd continually use Steve Jobs quotes in arguments.

I once declared "he does have one thing in common with Steve Jobs. When he's dead, everyone will agree he was an asshole."

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Childcatcher

Re: Jobs

> @Jobs: "My advice is to take a look at our patent portfolio before you make a final decision here."

He doesn't leave a lot of wiggle-room for the apologists. Straight-up patent warrior there - looks like it was probably deep in the DNA. Guess he had more in common with Gates and Balmer than I would have thought.

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Pint

Re: Jobs

Even more so since he made that statement in Auguest 2007, just 2 months after the first iphone and a year before the first android phone. It really shows that Apple didn't start suing because all the phone guys were suing them first, like people like to claim.

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Re: Pressing further

Good products? More like generic crap in a shiny wrapper.

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Alert

Dead Steve Jobs?

Did I miss Daniel Lyons' obit?

Just askin'...

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Say it ain't so

He was so cute and cuddly and all Apple products are all so perfect and highly original. How could anyone libel the saintly Steve like this?

I feel the need to burn some incense on my Steve shrine.

Om.

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So if you leave Apple you're not allowed to work for another IT company then, or am I missing something.

off topic but does Judge Lucy Koh deal with anything other than cases involving Apple or is she Apple’s favourite judge

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Anonymous Coward

"So if you leave Apple you're not allowed to work for another IT company then, or am I missing something."

Picture this:

Company A (whom you work for) makes an agreement to not poach employees from Company B.

You apply for a job with company B.

Your CV lands on a HR 'droid's desk at company A.

They spot you are currently employed by Company B and your CV instantly drops from the list of likely candidates.

Get it?

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Simply put. You work for Apple and earn $40,000 per year. Palm comes along and says "hey, we have a job that we want you for, we'll pay you $60,000 per year!". Apple then have to either let their talent go (and they are talented, they were head hunted) or match (or beat) $60,000.

To get around this, Apple, Google etc. enter a pact "we won't poach your staff, don't poach ours" so Google won't go to an Apple employee and offer them $60,000 a year which means the employee is out of pocket to the tune of $20,000, the wages are kept artificially low "yeah, the people doing your job earn $40k so that's what we're offering you"..

All in all, quite sleazy.

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Anonymous Coward

There's a difference between a company spamming another with job offers to an employee deciding to move to another company.

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Poaching is when you work for company A and someone from company B (might even be an old collegue who used to work for company A) offers you a job.

Going to company B or replying to one of their adverts in the job section does not count as poaching.

Though there are often legal requirements that companies have to advertise jobs and even interview candidates before filling a position. Annoying when you are one of these poor candidates who are brought in just to make up their interview numbers when the job is already going to their friend.

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FAIL

A or B?

Company A (whom you work for) ... They spot you are currently employed by Company B

Shome mishtake shurely?

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Re: A or B?

Wow, Sean Connery reads the Reg!

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Black Helicopters

> @David Webb: 'To get around this, Apple, Google etc. enter a pact "we won't poach your staff, don't poach ours" so Google won't go to an Apple employee and offer them $60,000 a year which means the employee is out of pocket to the tune of $20,000, the wages are kept artificially low "yeah, the people doing your job earn $40k so that's what we're offering you"..'

And, since there's no way to enforce the "pact", Jobs threatens to go patent-troll on the other company as the form of enforcement. Who wins? Employers, with artificially low wages. Who loses? Wage earners for these companies (reduced salaries, fewer job options); consumers (patent wars send the cost of devices up). And, companies like Apple lose, as they eat away at their own accumulated Goodwill, like a snake eating its own tail.

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Coat

Re: A or B?

>Shome mishtake shurely?

>>Wow, Sean Connery reads the Reg!

It's a reference to a magazine called Private Eye, that engages in investigative journalism and a level of piss-taking and cynicism that makes El Reg look tame, and was started long before liquid lunches (and thus afternoon slurring by the editor, on his way to being 'tired and emotional') went out of fashion.

Or it might be a pastiche of Private Eye. Pastiche: n. What Sean Connery eats in Cornwall.

-Bogbrush

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Re: A or B?

"Shome mishtake shurely" was usually attributed to "W. Deedes, Ed". Bill Deedes may or may not have liked liquid lunches - the fact that he was the recipient of the "Dear Bill" letters allegedly sent by Dennis Thatcher suggests that he did. But I think he actually shpoke that way when shtone-cold shober.

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Anonymous Coward

So, Palm were paying better then? Well, if you want the best staff, you need to go hunting and pay for them, or pay your own a decent wage so they don't vote with their feet. Unless you are rigging the market in an illegal way, of course.

Or bringing in "super-talented" on visas, that mysteriously seem to be cheaper as well, so they are supposedly like Alan Turing but oddly also willing to work for a burger-flipper's wage. Sure that will really help demand in the local economy...

Hey, call me old fashioned .....

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Headmaster

Well, well, well. It does seem that Mr Jobs regarded his company's patent porfolio.........

.................as a weapon of offence rather than defence. A weapon to be used even when there does not appear to have been any legitimate grounds to deploy it. He was clearly prepared to use it in order to extort "cooperation" from other companies even when there was no genuine IP issue involved. Something to think about in the context of Apple's judicial carpet bombing of their main rival in the industry over the past two years perhaps?

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Childcatcher

Re: Well, well, well. It does seem that Mr Jobs regarded his company's patent porfolio.........

Indeed, it would seem the best defense is a good offense... unless, of course, you deploy it against your own foot.

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Re: Well, well, well. It does seem that Mr Jobs regarded his company's patent porfolio.........

There wasn't "legitimate grounds to deploy it"?!!!

Fox, the palm people weren't doing what Jobs told them to do, they were even daft enough to pretend to compete with Apple.

If that isn't legitimate I don't know what is.

I mean, Steve Jobs even bothered to speak with Palm's CEO, himself, as is people from other companies deserved to be told the time of day by Him.

It is clear that the use of litigation is something Apple only uses after being provoked the most.

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Devil

Wait...

Wait... reducing wages for the IT works at the top also affects the wages of those further down.

Doesn't every person in the IT industry now have a claim against apple in this class action suit.

And it was intentional too, so all damages are tripled right?

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Re: Wait...

It wasn't just Apple who were up to this. You need more than one company playing ball in order for them all to keep their staff costs down.

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Unhappy

Re: Wait...

A very good point, for years a company I worked for told me my pay was in line with Market rate, if the market rate was checked against these companies that were keeping the market rate lower can I have a bucket of money?

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Either Jobs had no evidence or didn't have a leg to stand on

>Jobs accused two former Apple workers, Jon Rubenstein and Fred Anderson

If Job actually had any evidence he would of been able to get Jon and Fred (and the three others) on breech of contract as all contracts I've signed have had an anti-poaching clause. But then if Apple's contracts didn't contain an anti-poaching clause or it had lapsed, Jobs didn't have a leg to stand on...

In either case if I was one of the people accused by Job's, I'd also be filing a defamation of character charge against Job's (estate) and let his lawyers argue whether he was acting on the behalf of Apple or in a private capacity.

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Anonymous Coward

Read the mails:

http://gizmodo.com/5978223/the-no+hire-emails-that-that-involve-apple-google-adobe-and-more

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Sounds familiar

I recall the Church of $cientology employing similar scare tactics.

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Re: Sounds familiar

What, if the Pope and the Dalai Lama poach Tom Cruise they'll open a patent suite against them?

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Meh

Didn't Jobs do everything.

The way Mr Jobs's legend has evolved over the past few years, you'd think he wouldn't have needed any other employees.

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Big companies banding together to shaft their workers.

Who said big businesses can't get along?

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Joke

The real issue

People (resources) have rounded corners!

That makes them ALL the property of Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The real issue

Tch... so 2012.

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