Steve Jobs Threatened Palm with Patent Suit Over No-Hire Policy

Steve Jobs threatened to file a patent suit against Palm if they didn't agree to not hire Apple employees, according to a Reuters report on a court filing (via AppleInsider) made public Tuesday. The court filing is a part of a class action lawsuit against Apple, Google, Pixar, Lucasfilm and others over an agreement those companies made to not actively solicit each other's employees to hire them away.

091350 jobs forbes 400 2010
The companies attempted to keep an array of documents secret, but that request was rejected in parts by Judge Lucy Koh, which is why a statement from former Palm executive Edward Colligan has become public record. Colligan said that Jobs proposed the agreement to Palm, and that Jobs suggested that if Palm didn't agree they could face lawsuits "alleging infringement of Apple's many patents." Colligan responded to Jobs with an email:

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.[...] Palm doesn't target other companies-we look for the best people we can find. l'd hope the same could be said about Apple1s practices. However, during the last year or so, as Apple geared up to compete with Palm in the phone space, Apple hired at least 2% of Palm's workforce. To put it in perspective, had Palm done the same, we'd have hired 300 folks from Apple. Instead, to my knowledge, we've hired just three.

Colligan also told Jobs that he was not intimidated by patent litigation and said that Palm had recently acquired some patents from Siemens that it could use against Apple and its iPhone patents. Jobs responded:

Just for the record, when Siemens sold their handset business to BenQ they didn't sell them their essential patents but rather just gave them a license. The patents they did sell to BenQ are not that great. We looked at them ourselves when they were for sale. I guess you guys felt differently and bought them. We are not concerned about them at all. My advice is to take a look at our patent portfolio before you make a final decision here.

Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs revealed that Jobs was angry at Palm for hiring former employees, although the threat of patent litigation in Colligan's statement is certainly a new revelation.

"Jobs was so furious that Palm was hiring some of his former employees that he complained to Bono, who was a cofounder of a private equity group, led by the former Apple CFO Fred Anderson, that had bought a controlling stake in Palm."

These aren't the only instances that Jobs became angry at the poaching of Apple employees, however. In January 2012 it was revealed, also according to a court filing, that Jobs complained to then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt about the hiring of Apple employees at Google.

Recently, current CEO Tim Cook was ordered to give a deposition in this case, so more nuggets of information are likely to be released as court filings are made public.

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
Apple Pay Later feature 1

Apple Discontinuing Apple Pay Later

Monday June 17, 2024 11:44 am PDT by
Apple is discontinuing Apple Pay Later, the buy now, pay later feature that it just launched last October. Apple Pay Later is being discontinued as of today, but people who have existing Apple Pay Later loans will be able to continue to pay them off and manage them through the Wallet app. Apple announced plans to end the feature in a statement provided to 9to5Mac, which also notes that...
iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...

Top Rated Comments

AppleLover12345 Avatar
149 months ago
And people call Samsung scum.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Battlefield Fan Avatar
149 months ago
What an angry man Steve was. I like him less and less each day. Not that Tim is doing a better job though.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleScruff1 Avatar
149 months ago
This is so dirty, so Steve Jobs. He had a passion to be the best in every way, no matter the means.

And he really lowered himself to achieve certain things. He sure didn't like competition.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleLover12345 Avatar
149 months ago
They are scum... you can read all about it....

http://www.kernelmag.com/features/report/3028/samsung-power-corruption-and-lies/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/business/worldbusiness/06iht-samsung.1.8210181.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aH3aDwXXnvqc

http://www.fastcompany.com/1627411/bribery-massive-corruption-samsung-says-exposé-former-s-korean-prosecutor

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/22/content_8029589.htm

Regardless of that, a whole lot of Silicon Valley companies (e.g.: just about all the big ones) are going to pay out on a class action lawsuit regarding these no-hire agreements. It extends way beyond Apple and Google.
*yawn*
Where did I deny that Samsung wasn't scum or that they were never involved in illegal activities? I'm saying that it's hypocritical of Apple fanboys to proclaim that Samsung was scum and not mention the scum-like activities of Apple.
And just because other companies participated doesn't make it right. The way I see it, Apple is the biggest scum of them all. They make Samsung look like Mother Teresa. All Samsung is involved with is bribery of Korean politicians to get tax cuts and even more tax cuts, which doesn't really harm anyone. Apple's activities, on the other hand...
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BC2009 Avatar
149 months ago
And people call Samsung scum.

They are scum... you can read all about it....

http://www.kernelmag.com/features/report/3028/samsung-power-corruption-and-lies/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/business/worldbusiness/06iht-samsung.1.8210181.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aH3aDwXXnvqc

http://www.fastcompany.com/1627411/bribery-massive-corruption-samsung-says-exposé-former-s-korean-prosecutor

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/22/content_8029589.htm

Regardless of that, a whole lot of Silicon Valley companies (e.g.: just about all the big ones) are going to pay out on a class action lawsuit regarding these no-hire agreements. It extends way beyond Apple and Google.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
149 months ago
I think he's perfectly okay to protect his company and employees, and therefore their hard work from being lost to another company.

To be honest, I'd do anything to have someone with Steve's stance on poaching leading my company...

While it's extremely far away from slavery, no poaching policies are on the same spectrum. It takes us from a free market to one where an employee is essentially owned by his company if he wants to work in his chosen field. It's extremely unethical and should be illegal if it's not.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)