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.

Top Rated Comments

AppleLover12345 Avatar
127 months ago
And people call Samsung scum.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Battlefield Fan Avatar
127 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
127 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
127 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
127 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
127 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)

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
General YouTube Feature 1

You May Soon Need to Be a YouTube Premium Subscriber to Watch 4K Videos

Monday October 3, 2022 4:29 am PDT by
YouTube may make watching videos in 4K quality on the platform exclusive to only YouTube Premium subscribers, according to screenshots posted by users on Twitter and Reddit. On Reddit (1,2) and Twitter, some users have started to recently notice that on iOS, and presumably across other platforms also, YouTube is now saying that in order to watch videos in 4K, the user must be a paying...
dynamic island alan dye

Apple Executives Talk About iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island in New Interview

Sunday October 2, 2022 10:48 am PDT by
In a new interview, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple's vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island and how it was developed. During the interview with the Japanese magazine Axis, Federighi, who oversees the development of iOS, said Dynamic Island represents the...