Apple pressed Palm on 'no poaching' pact: documents

January 23, 2013
Customers are seen in the Hong Kong Apple store on September 20, 2012. Late Apple chief Steve Jobs threatened to slap Palm with patent lawsuits to prevent the tech rival from hiring away its talent, according to court documents available on Wednesday.

Late Apple chief Steve Jobs threatened to slap Palm with patent lawsuits to prevent the tech rival from hiring away its talent, according to court documents available on Wednesday.

Unsealed copies of an email exchanged between Jobs and then Palm president Edward Colligan in 2007 were among evidence in a lawsuit charging Silicon Valley giants secretly agreed not to "poach" workers from rival firms.

Colligan referred to a phone call in which Jobs proposed the companies not hire each other's employees and suggested that if Palm did not agree to such a pact, Apple would embroil it in costly patent lawsuits.

"Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal," Colligan said in a copy of an email message to Jobs dated August 24 of 2007.

Colligan's message went on to argue that was not the answer because both companies would wind up "paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money."

In an email response, Jobs said, "This is not satisfactory to Apple."

"I'm sure you realize the asymmetry in the financial resources of our respective companies when you say 'we will both just end up paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money,'" Jobs said in his reply.

"My advice is to take a look at our before you make a final decision here."

Palm never agreed to the deal, Colligan said in a sworn statement that accompanied copies of email messages entered as exhibits in the case.

A smartphone pioneer, Palm failed to capitalize on its position in the market and was bought by Hewlett-Packard in 2010.

US Lucy Koh has cleared the way for Apple chief , Google chairman and Intel head Paul Otellini to face questioning in the "no-poaching" lawsuit set for trial in November.

During a hearing last week in her courtroom in the California city of San Jose, Koh referred repeatedly to email evidence that included a request in 2007 by then Apple chief Jobs that stop recruiting Apple workers.

While Cook was not mentioned in the , it was reasonable to expect that his position as chief operating officer included being kept apprised of issues involving employee expenses, the judge said.

Cook took over as Apple chief in 2011 after Jobs stepped down due to a battle with cancer, which claimed his life.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs have asked Koh to grant them class-action status to represent all workers who may have been affected.

The civil suit filed in 2011 followed the settling of restraint of trade litigation by the US Justice Department due to a "no-poaching" agreement involving an array of companies.

Explore further: Apple, Google chiefs face grilling on 'no-poaching'

Related Stories

Apple, Google chiefs face grilling on 'no-poaching'

January 19, 2013

Apple chief Tim Cook and Google chairman Eric Schmidt are expected to face questioning in a lawsuit accusing Silicon Valley giants of secretly agreeing not to "poach" one another's workers, according to officials and court ...

Cook vows to stay true to Apple core

August 25, 2011

Tim Cook began his first day as Apple chief executive on Thursday by assuring employees that he will stick to the winning ways of his legendary predecessor Steve Jobs.

US judge allows tech 'poaching' suit to proceed

April 19, 2012

A US judge has given a green light to a lawsuit charging Apple, Google, Pixar and other technology-driven firms with colluding to keep salaries in check by agreeing not to poach one another's software engineers.

Apple, Samsung chiefs to meet on patent disputes

April 17, 2012

The chiefs of iPhone-maker Apple and smartphone giant Samsung have agreed to meet in the coming months to try to resolve patent disputes before the matters go to trial, legal filings showed.

Recommended for you

Old, meet new: Drones, high-tech camera revamp archaeology

November 24, 2017

Scanning an empty field that once housed a Shaker village in New Hampshire, Jesse Casana had come in search of the foundations of stone buildings, long-forgotten roadways and other remnants of this community dating to the ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 23, 2013
Clearly Jobs belief was that his employees were his cattle to do with as he pleased.

The world is a better place without him.
1 / 5 (5) Jan 23, 2013
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 23, 2013
The world would be a better place without jonnyboy too.
1 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2013
Correct. But there is still a possibility that he can be re-educated.

Apple lost around 10% of it's value today.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.