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Ex-MS GM Can't Work 'Anywhere In the World' For Salesforce

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the free-market-at-work dept.

Cloud 282

theodp writes "Be careful before you sign a Microsoft non-compete agreement, kids. GeekWire reports that King County Superior Court Judge Kimberley Prochnau has enjoined former Microsoft General Manager Matthew Miszewski from 'working in a marketing role in salesforce.com's public or commercial sector anywhere in the world.' So what did onetime Wisconsin State CIO Miszewski do to warrant the global ban? 'He was a major evangelist for Microsoft,' explained Judge Prochnau, who added that the 'thrust of the order is to preclude him from being the evangelist for Salesforce.com that he was for Microsoft.' Microsoft, which has warned Congress that restricting the flow of talent is ruinous to America, said in a statement that the company is pleased with the ruling."

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what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841530)

what

Re:what (1)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841562)

I agree with this gentleman.

Re:what (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841670)

I agree with this gentleman.

I second your motion. All in favor?

Re:what (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842358)

I motion a vote of consent.

Re:what (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841974)

"What", what he said.

All Hail Empress Kimberley! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841548)

Oh wait, your jurisdiction isn't global, biatch!

Nothing to see... (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841550)

His "non-compete" agreement is only valid for a year. I'm sure he put away enough moo-la at MS to take a vacation... I know how some here feel about "non-competes" and MS, but good grief, he signed the agreement, he knew what was in it, and it's only a year.

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841572)

I've signed a non-compete, do I get a /. article?

Re:Nothing to see... (2)

youn (1516637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841986)

I've signed a non-compete, do I get a /. article?

Anonymous, I believe you signed a non fire non quit clause on your job... you are stuck with slashdot the rest of your life. Besides, slashdot would not be the same without you lol

Re:Nothing to see... (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841690)

I agree with you, but in general there is the question of whether or not it should be legal for large companies to require 'abusive' contracts; "just turn down the job" is a luxury people may not have. The 'slippery slope' conclusion is that everyone starts requiring them, meaning that you either have to remain in your job however crappy it becomes or you're unemployable in any industry using your skill set, at least for 'x' months, and you end up flipping burgers. Realistically, though, non-competes are generally the domain of high level executives who have plenty of other options and, more than likely, enough cash to take time off if they feel the need. As long as it stays that way, I see no problem.

Re:Nothing to see... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841746)

"Realistically, though, non-competes are generally the domain of high level executives who have plenty of other options and, more than likely, enough cash to take time off if they feel the need. As long as it stays that way, I see no problem."

And yet it's becoming more and more common to have lower and lower level peons sign them. It's *not* staying that way at all.

Re:Nothing to see... (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841854)

I have seen 18 month non-compete for lowly lab grunts in private R&D companies and trainee IPR people with circa 45K pound per annum. Anything but exec.

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842112)

The general view is that they're not enforcable anyway.

Re:Nothing to see... (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842338)

Not to worry. Once we bring back indentured servitude and debt slavery, noncompetes will seem entirely reasonable by comparison.

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841914)

Not staying that way seems to imply it was that way sometime in the recent past. It's not only not staying that way, it hasn't been that way for at least a decade.
 
I was required to sign a 6 month non-compete when I started as a junior level software engineer for my company almost 10 years ago. In the R&D industries, it's been pretty common practice for quite a long time at all levels.

Re:Nothing to see... (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842012)

I was asked to sign a non-compete for a LAWN SPRINKLER INSTALLATION COMPANY as a job foreman. I refused and they relented. I actually laughed in their faces. This was for a $14/hour job.

Re:Nothing to see... (5, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841804)

Judges don't always go along with the agreements. Former employees of Arthur Anderson were allowed out of their agreements when they fled the firm due to the massive fraud scandal following Enron. Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP The Death of Non-Competition Agreements? [theiplawblog.com]

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841874)

It's true. Lincoln freed the slaves.

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

Hydian (904114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841962)

Non-competes are not uncommon in many areas such as sales and development. I even had to sign them back when I was a field service tech.

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842040)

"just turn down the job" is a luxury people may not have.

You aren't some special unique uebertalented snowflake?

Everyone else here is.

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842266)

I don't like working nights, or working weekends. I don't go suggesting that the governments stops companies from requiring weekend work in contracts; I don't take jobs that require it. The slippery slope conclusion is a stupid conclusion to automatically assume. Non-competes will only become ubiquitous if the vast majority of the workforce believes they are worth accepting for a price lower or equal to what companies are willing to pay them to accept it.

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842286)

meaning that you either have to remain in your job however crappy it becomes or you're unemployable in any industry using your skill set, at least for 'x' months, and you end up flipping burgers.

cmon now, thats what they are trying to do by having your employer offer insurance. It makes it much harder to take off for a while if your paying that much a month for insurance without them..

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842310)

Haha I am happy to see that someone else gets this.

And don't forget... the company WANTS to give you insurance because then they can pay you less, and still get tax credits for the insurance. If they had to give you enough cash to buy your own insurance, it would cost them a lot more.

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841794)

I'm pretty sure he can go to another country and work. AFAIK, American judges are limited to American turf.

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841936)

I'm pretty sure he can go to another country and work. AFAIK, American judges are limited to American turf.

Right, as long as he never wants to come back. As far as I know there is no statute of limitations on being found in contempt and judges really dislike being ignored. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contempt_of_court#United_States [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842042)

IANAL but the judge only has jurisdiction in the states. Its not contempt if he enjoins out of the jurisdiction. We do have some funny laws about pedos going overseas to have sex with the underaged, but even those laws are 'intent' laws and they dont get charged with the actual acts but with "Traveling overseas to do naughty things"

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841852)

> he signed the agreement, he knew what was in it

Wasn't this the storyline of Spawn? Ghost Rider?

Me, too, dude, I'm totally screwed, I signed this contract with Linux and I'm obliged to advocate for it... wait, I didn't, just kidding... :-P

I do it for fun... F-U-N! The kind of thing one leaves M$ to get back... after one year... mwahahahaha...

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841942)

It's true he signed it, but are non-compete agreements really voluntary when every employer requires you to sign one as a requirement of being hired?

Re:Nothing to see... (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842016)

His "non-compete" agreement is only valid for a year.

Sorry, that simply cannot be true. To not mention that in the summary would amount to lying by omission, and theodp is well known for not misinterpreting statements, exaggeration or other similar underhand tricks.

Retract that vile calumny immediately, sir, or I shall have to ask you to step outside!

Re:Nothing to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842092)

OK, so he signed it. It was a condition of his employment.

The real question is about the morality of the non-compete agreements. I say they should not be legal. Your employer should not be able to make it a condition of your employment that you must make a pledge to limit your own career options. That's just wrong to me; no employer should have that kind of power over the lives of their workers. Some jurisdictions, like the state of California, would seem to agree with me. Others, like the state of Washington, do not. And can you imagine what would happen if a legislator in WA tried to make their laws on this look more like those of California on this matter? The pressure from Microsoft would be too immense to let that happen. That's what I call corruption. The whole thing exists on questionable moral grounds.

Re:Nothing to see... (3, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842108)

Nevertheless in many countries that agreement would be void as it contradicts the law. Unless ofc, he is payed or otherwise compensated by the contractor for that year.
But companies in the USA are so lucky that that state has no laws in the areas that are relevant but only case to case decisions.
Also: as a non american, it slightly irritates me that that US judge so bluntly extends his area of judication over the rest of the world.
angel'o'sphere

Re:Only a year (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842170)

You might be right -

If execs can get past the crazy lifestyle, their $10,000 in savings might last a while. Then the world can hire them and the ori. board wsted 9 months on strategy direction.

Then they can do what they want.

Re:Nothing to see... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842330)

While I suspect that this particular guy might be OK, but the bolded part of your argument would be as applicable to indentured servitude as it would to 'non-compete' clauses. Exactly how much can you sign away?

It's only 8 more months (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841554)

Let me start by saying that I think that non-competes are generally bullshit. I personally gave up some benefits to avoid signing one where I work, just on principle.

That said, for high-level people with insider information, it may be a special case that I could be persuaded to accept. In any event, this guy only has 8 months left on his contract. The summary leaves out that vital little detail.

Re:It's only 8 more months (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841614)

> you hate non-competes
> you'd still sign one anyway

facepalm.jpg

Re:It's only 8 more months (2)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841908)

Don't act like it's a hypocritical viewpoint. In GP's words, "High level people with insider information" have the potential to make life difficult for the company they're leaving. If they get sniped by competition explicitly for that insider information--by which I mean bought out with huge stacks of cash--that could be ruinous. And unfortunately, it's not as though high level people are never mercenary / unprincipled.

GP is only acknowledging that non-competes are a reasonable request by the company under certain conditions. If you don't believe that, don't be surprised that they don't trust you with anything sensitive.

Refusing to sign can have repercussions ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842022)

> you hate non-competes > you'd still sign one anyway

facepalm.jpg

Why not? They are unenforceable in most states and it avoids arguing with the new employer on day 1.

(1) They ask you to sign knowing its unenforceable, you sign knowing its unenforceable, everyone smiles. Over time you get to know and trust each other but inevitably you leave for another job. You still have a good relationship, references and possibly coming back some day are an option.

(2) They ask you to sign knowing its unenforceable, you refuse. They fear you are going to be a "poor fit". You continue through the new hire procedures and when it comes time to lead you to your desk to begin working they lead you to the managers office where it is explained that you are an at-will employee and that your services are no longer necessary. They give you your final check for the days work and bid you goodbye. They then call the 2nd choice for the position, a person who you were only won out over by the slightest of margins. Given basically equivalent skills the person easier to get along with will get the position.

I realize there is a tendency to think such a scenario indicates that this would be a bad place to work but strangely this is not true. New hires are very expensive to train and get up to speed and releasing a new hire at the earliest possible point can limit the damages. If you exhibit behaviors that suggest your personality will not fit in they may exercise such an option. It may be best to be on your good behavior until everyone gets to know and trust each other and strongly held contrary positions will get a more thoughtful reception.

Personally I'd go with:

(3) They ask you to sign knowing its unenforceable, you write "unenforceable by state law" and sign and say that you know its unenforceable but you don't want to put the other person in the awkward position of not having their paperwork complete, everyone smiles. Basically I'm testing their reaction to see if I want this job.

Re:It's only 8 more months (1)

hoppo (254995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842058)

> you hate non-competes
> you'd still sign one anyway

facepalm.jpg

I hate waking up early. Yet I do anyway. Because I like being employed.

Re:It's only 8 more months (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842084)

I hate getting shots.

I still get them anyway.

I hate getting sick more than I hate getting the shot.

Re:It's only 8 more months (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842320)

Man, I hate getting shot!

Confidentia info is separate from non-competes ... (5, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841822)

... for high-level people with insider information, it may be a special case that I could be persuaded to accept ...

Confidential information (trade secrets, etc) can never be revealed by a former employee. The presence or absence of a non-compete agreement is irrelevant to such information.

For the most part non-compete agreements are a mind game and are not enforceable. Exceptions usually involve owners who sell a company. For high level execs the legal justification usually has nothing to do with non-competes but rather that in their new role they will inevitably use confidential information of the former employer. Note "use" not "reveal", as in quietly make decisions without fully explaining their reasons.

So two companies in two different states sue (1)

nanoflower (1077145) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841558)

Hmm, how does this work when one company is one state and the other is in another and they are suing one another? I suppose if he stayed out of Washington state he could work for Salesforce.com. By the time the ensuing court case was heard by the court his non-compete clause would be terminated (since it is up in about eight months.)

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841618)

Full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution. A legally-binding contract in one state is legally-binding in all other 49.

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841706)

Full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution. A legally-binding contract in one state is legally-binding in all other 49.

That's the way it supposed to be, but in reality, it's not. California outlaws non-competes in almost all instances (including those from other states). Nobody has challenged it via Full Faith.

Non-Disclosure agreements are completely understandable. Non-Competes are bullshit.

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (1)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841768)

How do you enforce a non-disclosure? Kindly ask the person not to use any of the knowledge or experience he acquired on the previous job? Even if the person was serious in agreeing to that, its hard to not subconsciously use the information and skills that you were hired to provide. How do you know the person used that information or information they had before their original job. If you want any type of successful restriction, non-compete is the real way to go.

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842254)

Skills and information are different. If I learn Android development (a skill) on a job that's one thing, but a list of customers or future product plans (information) is a different coloured kettle of worms.

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841648)

Hmm, how does this work when one company is one state and the other is in another and they are suing one another?

Normally, the way it works is that the contract specifically says which state jurisdiction applies.

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (1)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841742)

You can sue a corporation in any state that they do business in, therefore you could likely sue both companies in any state... And they could probably argue for a preliminary injunction, which would bar him from working until the trial, so much of the case would be arguing over the preliminary injunction.

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841832)

The agreement is for the entire world, though. How would they enforce it outside the U.S.?

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841924)

Pretty sure Microsoft has lawyers almost everywhere.

Re:So two companies in two different states sue (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841932)

If he leaves the country they cannot, but he could be the marketing director for, say, south america while still living in the US in which case the agreement could be enforced.

Bad judge (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841560)

Non-competition agreements are not meant to be enforced this way. This is akin to preventing a software developer from ever making software for another company, rather than preventing one from working on Yahoo! Messenger if his previous job was working on Windows Live Messenger. The problem with the latter is that he could "steal" a Microsoft "secret" and use it in Yahoo! Messenger, whereas the problem with the latter is that it prevents the guy from ever using his general purpose skills, education, and experience ever again. I highly doubt this guy learned any Secrets Of Evangelism Known Only To Microsoft (TM) and is stealing them for Salesforce. The judge is an idiot.

Re:Bad judge (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841636)

This is akin to preventing a software developer from ever making software for another company,

No it's not. He only has to wait another eight months, and then he's fine.

Re:Bad judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841710)

The problem with the latter is that he could "steal" a Microsoft "secret" and use it in Yahoo! Messenger, whereas the problem with the latter is that it prevents the guy from ever using his general purpose skills, education, and experience ever again.

Ahhhh Mein Brain!

Re:Bad judge (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841940)

Are you basing that on the facts as presented to the judge, or are you merely offering a judgment based on your understanding of a Slashdot summary?

Cause I'm just gonna go ahead and guess you aren't nearly as qualified to render that judgment...

Actually judge may have better grasp of issue ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842078)

I highly doubt this guy learned any Secrets Of Evangelism Known Only To Microsoft (TM) and is stealing them for Salesforce. The judge is an idiot.

You are mistaken. For example as an evangelist this guy may know who Microsoft's weakest clients are, those most receptive to a pitch from Salesforce. He may even know their specific concerns and use such insider knowledge in his pitch.

Jurisdiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841566)

How do they expect to stop him from getting a job somewhere the court has no jurisdiction, precisely?

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841602)

How do they expect to stop him from getting a job somewhere the court has no jurisdiction, precisely?

Zombie-gram...

Re:Jurisdiction? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841652)

If he does, they can sue him again in that court. That is essentially what he tried here: he wanted to work for Salesforce.com in Canada or other places outside the US, and the judge disallowed it.

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841658)

It's probably a matter of where he is going to be living and where the new company is based (or if they have a presence in the usa) If he intends to stay living in the usa, and this place has a corp office there (if he's going to stay in the usa we'll assume they do) then they do have jurisdiction in this specific case.

I don't know if it would hold if he moved out of the usa before he was hired, if they have a corp presence in the usa.

I Had a Girlfriend Like That, Once. (5, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841592)

I had a girlfriend exactly like that, once. She was all "If I can't have you, then NOBODY CAN HAVE YOU!". It got pretty scary there, for awhile.

Re:I Had a Girlfriend Like That, Once. (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841626)

Yeah, It's like that but somebody gives a crap.

Standard practice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841598)

This is common at all major tech companies--and the summary leaves out some details, namely that Microsoft and Salesforce are in direct competition with each other in the cloud computing business, which also happens to be what Mr. Miszewski was selling for Microsoft and was hired to sell at Salesforce... the only gotcha is that the target customer base was slightly different (international government vs pure commerical), but that does not get Mr. Miszewski out of his non-compete. Also, Microsoft's position that the governments restriction of talent entering America is bad has very little to do with Microsoft's position on non-compete clauses.

Slashdot should be renamed to microsoftsucks.com.

Re:Standard practice (0)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842134)

of course Microsoft has no problem breaking non-compete clauses from California companies all the time. That's what much of the Google/Microsoft hate is from. Google being in California can't enforce Non-Competes on it's employees... and when Google swipes folks from Washington to California the non-compete is unenforceable.... Like every other company, Microsoft likes it's benefits one way but not the other.

No competes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841604)

No competes are governed by distance and time from the corporate head quarters. If you go to another state they mean nothing. Also they generally don't hold up in court against an argument that states the company is trying to prevent your gainful employment.

But it's OK for the Nokia guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841644)

I guess MS doesn't care as much when the former employee takes over another company and promptly MS-ifies their product strategy.

Smart Judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841674)

The judge must think it's bullshit, too. She gave them the end-run: "she said allowable internal roles could potentially include training other employees."

So I wonder if he's started working at the newly created "Salesforce.com University" yet?

Corporate hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841708)

Microsoft is always for whatever benefits Microsoft, but against anything that works against their interests, even if they are for the exact same thing when it benefits them. Isn't this the definition of hypocrisy? In any case, Microsoft definitely wants to have their cake, and eat it too... My solution? Boycott anything they sell. I will NEVER purchase a computer again with a Microsoft operating system installed on it, or any software that they sell. My current workstation is a custom-built job running Linux - 8 cores, 8GB RAM, 15TB disc, dual gigabit ethernet, nVidia 8800gt video card w/ dual displays. I wouldn't impose Windows on this system for all the tea in China! Sorry Microsoft, but your egregious business practices, no matter the lip service you give to open source projects, have forever sullied your image in my eye!

Re:Corporate hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841946)

The fact that you have a 8800gt in your machine suggests you use it to play video games.
I'm not attacking your reasons and motives but you could have saved a lot of money on the hardware if you didn't need the extra performance for not being able to run things natively.

Re:Corporate hypocrisy (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842136)

Or CAD, or medical visualization, maybe hes a researcher doing GPU protein folding.

Re:Corporate hypocrisy (1)

lyml (1200795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842220)

Or more likely just making shit up on the internet. Oh btw, I'm 195 cm and bench 250 kg so if you disagree with me you're getting your ass kicked.

Re:Corporate hypocrisy (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842164)

So you're main point of criticism is to go after Microsoft for behaving like every other business in a free market? Every business acts to protect its self interest. This means that they often take hypocritical stands and I can't think of many corporations that have not done this at some point or another. The merits of the free market can certainly be debated, though in my mind a better alternative does not exist (Churchill's dictum comes to mind: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time").

So in essence I applaud you for your choice not to support Microsoft, as that is the means by which the market dictates the rules to corporations, but with that said Microsoft is behaving no differently than Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs et al. In my mind, sufficient evidences exists to suggest that protecting ones interests is hardcoded into our DNA and so in an effort to move the discussion forward I like to use this as my basis. I'm all for corporate responsibility and a clear and transparent system where hypocrisy doesn't abound but the system that we have is a byproduct of our nature and to think that changes can be made to impulses that have been honed over millions of years seems the height of arrogance.

Microsoft's not the only company who does this (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841724)

I was dissuaded from accepting employment with Amazon after an attorney warned me that he'd handled several cases where Amazon came after an ex-employee who was now working for a web startup. There are few online business niches Amazon doesn't consider itself related to, and Amazon, like MS, does business all over the world, so the usual restrictions on geographic area don't apply.

All of those employees, when threatened, apparently backed down and started their careers over in packaged software design, in-house corporate business apps, or brick-and-mortar marketing. They couldn't afford to go up against Amazon, or to "sit out" of the online business for the 18 month non-compete term required by Amazon.

Re:Microsoft's not the only company who does this (2)

eddy (18759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842292)

Wouldn't the non-compete include pay for the duration? If not, why would anyone EVER sign one of these?

Looks good on resume (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841730)

Too effective to be allowed by law.

Constitutional Amendment 28 (2)

Slowdude (705780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841766)

Precluding someone from working in their field at all and putting food on their table is a form of violence. I realize he probably has enough money to eat, but when this kind of judgment is applied to the people making far less money the inevitable tragic response shouldn't surprise anybody. I could see him restricted from marketing for Redhat, but this is a sickening example of imperialism of the very rich. We are facing problems now that our founders never envisioned and we need to stop this once and for all. Can you imagine this kind of "agreement" preventing farmers from farming a hundred years ago? These kind of laws have really screwed up the free trade of services and created a type of serfdom. We've lived with it for years, but when the chains become too tight it is time to act. What sort of law or laws need to be passed to stop this? Can we legally ban the "you can't work anywhere else" covenants which seem to be necessary to work anywhere besides McDonalds? Why is it the arrogant software companies that think they can make slaves of their workers?

Re:Constitutional Amendment 28 (1)

shinehead (603005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841858)

It's not violence, it's anti-competitive. This is an example of the things corporations do to maintain the status quo. I have signed non-competes before and don't give them another thought as I have no intention of abiding by hem or letting a former employer know where I am going for my next gig.

Re:Constitutional Amendment 28 (1)

Ashe Tyrael (697937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842276)

So obviously, when the next company asks for a reference from your previous employer, you're going to have to say "No, sorry, can't give you that as they'll know where I'm working."

Most companies over here won't even let you through to an interview without having at least the name to talk to for a reference from your previous employer (assuming you have one.)

Re:Constitutional Amendment 28 (0)

hwstar (35834) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841976)

Given our federal government and constitution was designed to protect the "opulent minority" this would never see the light of day. One possibility is the Article 5 Constitutional Convention, but 38 states would have to tell Congress to call a convention, and Congress will probably ignore the request unless we are the brink of a second civil war. You can try voting out all the incumbents, but since the campaign finance law has been invalidated by the Supreme court, you'll just end up voting someone else in who is a puppet for the opulent minority. The constitutional framework to protect the "opulent minority" is what needs to be rebalanced as the playing field is not level. Back when the framers designed the constitution, it probably had to be done this way. I'm not advocating a "pure democracy". A pure democracy probably would not work today either, but our current constitution is in dire need of some revisions.

That's what you get with your legal system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841798)

In my country any judge would laugh and toss it out. The ability for someone to work without hurting his former employer takes precedence over almost anything else.

Human Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841814)

I am pretty sure that sort of clause wouldn't be allowed in the EU, due to human rights ramifications. Does the US not have similar protection for employees?

Re:Human Rights? (2)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841910)

at least in Germany such clauses (called "nachvertragliches Wettbewerbsverbot") are legal.

Re:Human Rights? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842068)

They are legal, but your previous employer gets to pay your salary (for doing nothing, or at most looking for an adequate, non-competing job) for the duration that they insist on keeping you out of employment via a non-compete agreement. I think that's exactly how this should work.

Re:Human Rights? (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842130)

after reading a little bit more (IANAL et al) the requirements are:
* payment of at least 50% of the former salary
* and not longer than 2 years

okay, seems to be very different to the case described in TFA - thanks for correcting me

Re:Human Rights? (1)

hwstar (35834) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842234)

Yes, that is the way it should work. Consideration for signing the non-compete should not be a condition for future or continued employment. The consideration should be that if the non-compete clause is invoked, the company must pay a salary for the duration of the non-compete or until the ex-employee has found a non-infringing job at a comparable salary with another employer. The financial incentive of this approach will make the old employer help the released employee to find a non-infringing job to cut down on the salary expense. And the released employee can't milk the system for the duration of the non-compete. This would also stop the practise of non-competes being required for all employees.

Beck/Limbaugh alert: This thinking would be viewed as "socialist" and "un-american" by the brainwashed conservative masses.

When life gives you lemons... (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841820)

take a trip to the ISS and be the first sales manager who's LITERALLY "Out of this World!"

No job for Ballmer.. (0)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#35841834)

.. at the WWF. Chair-throwing would be too close to his MS job.

Re:No job for Ballmer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842248)

They must have exciting jobs over at the World Wildlife Fund...

California Business And Professions Code 16600 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841838)

Solution: Work in California for a California Based Corporation and non-competes are not valid unless you are a partner to a business.

See http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=bpc&group=16001-17000&file=16600-16607

Of course MS wants "talent flow" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35841866)

Microsoft, which has warned Congress that restricting the flow of talent is ruinous to America, said in a statement that the company is pleased with the ruling."

Nothing inconsistent about that - all they want is the flow of talent from cheaper countries to here. After all, if cheap overseas workers can't get here, how are we supposed to train our replacements? ;)

Noncompete Agreements Could Be Fair (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842004)

I think it depends on the length of the agreement and the impact on the employee. If the noncompete bars an individual from using his or her current skill set at any job in the industry - that's effectively banishing an employee from employment for the length of the agreement. That should not be allowed. Another consideration is does the noncompete remain in effect after termination? Because working under the threat of being fired and made unemployable for a year is a hellish thing to contemplate. Here is a hypothetical: "If you don't start working weekends for free, you are fired, and will have to go from making 70k a year to making minimum wage for the duration of our two year noncompete". That's just abusive.

Re:Noncompete Agreements Could Be Fair (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842148)

I think it depends on the length of the agreement and the impact on the employee.

If non-compete came with full pay for the period of non-competition, then it might be reasonable.

You underestimate the power of the Dark Side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842020)

And our rather thorough non-compete agreements.

Not lawful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842028)

A US judge cannot enforce the law outside of their own jurisdiction. The judge in question has assumed the sovereignty of nations world wide.

What happens outside of the US is no business of the US legal system, it is within the strict purview of the foreign government to hold the contract valid.

King County Superior Court Judge Kimberley Prochnau has demonstrated an inability to perform their job and should be removed from the post. Furthermore, it raises the issue of professional competence which would indicate that the judge should retrain in law.

Re:Not lawful (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842122)

She hasn't overstepped her bounds. If he breaks a US court order that specifies him from doing something outside of the US, then he will be accountable when he returns to the US.

so whats the problem? (1, Insightful)

gearloos (816828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842036)

The world is far better with one less Microsoft Employee spreading wisdom like a virus. things like it's okay to turn out a product that is obviously second (or third) rate is a phenomenon of the Microsoft Era. Smaller, less monopolizing, companies have to actually turn out product that performs as advertised or they would be out of biz. Microsoft, on the other hand, just says wait until the next version to fix that. They will pay again. Bull, Screw everyone who does, or has worked for them. Mcdonalds is hiring. Send him that way to get a taste of reality. No sympathy whatsoever.

Might come as a shock to you Americans.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842072)

But your laws don't apply outside your country's borders. This contract is an empty paper to all non American companies.

Re:Might come as a shock to you Americans.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842322)

But your laws don't apply outside your country's borders. This contract is an empty paper to all non American companies.

And if you have no intention of ever returning to the US, that might be relevant. For everyone else, they don't want to be sued to bankruptcy if they ever decide to return.

could be some politics involved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35842306)

Microsoft, like many other large companies, sometimes makes veiled threats about moving all or a portion of their workforce to another state (or Canada) when the legislature starts talking about increasing corporate taxes and stuff like that. That, of course could have material impact of the state budget, including the salaries of judges. Having judges willing to rule in favor of the home team is one way of achieving a measure of "lock in".

California protects workers (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35842350)

In California, non-compete agreements are illegal except in a few narrow situations (such as a partner in a business).

"every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void."

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