Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Steve Jobs Threatened Palm To Stop Poaching Employees

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the asymmetry-of-financial-resources dept.

Google 270

An anonymous reader writes with more news about the no-poach agreements that seemed to plague tech companies. From the article: "Steve Jobs threatened patent litigation if Palm wouldn't agree to stop hiring Apple employees, says former Palm CEO Edward Colligan in a statement dated August 7th, 2012. The allegation is backed up by a trove of recently-released evidence that shows just how deeply Silicon Valley's no-hire agreements pervaded in the mid-2000s. Apple, Google, Intel, and others are the focus of a civil lawsuit into the 'gentleman's agreements,' in which affected employees are fighting for class action status and damages from resulting lost wages, potentially reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars."

cancel ×

270 comments

I never liked him but... (5, Interesting)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668481)

It's still surprising when we get a bit more data on exactly *how much* of a dick he was. I wish some of this stuff had come out while he was alive.

Re:I never liked him but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668567)

Jobs is the reason I have never owned nor ever will own an Apple product. Evil man.

Nor Oracle products, or use Facebook.

Yeah, kind of lame, but if everyone would say, enough is enough, things might change. Not holding out much hope for that...

Re:I never liked him but... (-1, Redundant)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668687)

Jobs is the reason I have never owned nor ever will own an Apple product. Evil man.

Does that also mean you will stop using Intel products and Google products?

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668819)

And Microsoft.

Well you can alway build all your own stuff.

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668905)

Can't use Google, Bing, DDG (Bing), Startpage (Google), Yahoo (Bing), etc. Is dogpile still around?

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

dimeglio (456244) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669019)

And Linux/GNU. Stallman really gets on my nerves with all his gnactivism. Linus is also such a dictator.

Jareth, you need to realize that it's war out there in the corporate world. Nice guys do finish last.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669401)

There is all kinds of HR law out there just as there is law for accounting. Perhaps there should be law out there for HR that says "goes to jail" it knowingly complying with such practices.

Sure, this wouldn't stop such practices any more than accounting law stops accounting fraud. It would slow it down and give them reason to pause though. After all, getting fined is one thing... it's often a write-off or a cost of doing business. But when there is jail time involved? That's another matter now isn't it?

Re:I never liked him but... (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669075)

There's a matter of practicality here: some company's products are easier to avoid than others.

With Apple, it's easy: they're extremely vertically integrated, but you can sidestep them altogether by just using PCs, Android/Windows phones, etc. It's not hard at all to avoid using Apple products, and avoid giving them any profits.

Same goes for Facebook: just don't use it. You don't really need social networking.

Oracle's even easier: don't use their databases. You can still use Java if you want (if you don't use OpenJDK instead), but that won't give them any profit since you don't pay for it (and it doesn't contain advertising).

Google's obviously much harder: their search engine is basically the gold standard, and they also have a big hand in Android phones, and using their products gives them advertising revenue (even if you don't click on any ads or buy anything from them). You could switch to Bing and Windows phones, but MS is evil too, arguably more so, so that's not much help. There are some other search engines, though, like DuckDuckGo. But if you need a smartphone, Android is probably the best way to go, because Google gets far, far less profit from your Android phone than Apple gets from you buying an iPhone. Also, if you buy an Android phone, a lot of the profit is going to other companies entirely (like Samsung or HTC), so it's getting spread around more than if you buy an iPhone, where most of the profit goes to Apple.

With Intel, it's similar: first, you could switch to AMD CPUs, or maybe build an ARM Linux box. But even if you use Intel, with an Intel PC much of the profit is going to the system builder (Acer, Lenovo, HP, Dell, your corner computer shop that custom-built the system for you, etc.), unlike with Apple where they take most of the profit for themselves due to their vertical integration.

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669361)

So basically you're willing to boycott products out of principle until it's inconvenient for you.

Re:I never liked him but... (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669451)

So you're willing to go without technology altogether? Then what are you doing here? You're a hypocrite.

I'm willing to boycott products where it's easy for me to not use them. But (since my career is in the tech field) I'm not going to go live under a bridge just because all the big Silicon Valley companies were complicit in this.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669225)

How does google associate with Intel? Each have their own issues, but that's like lumping Apple in with MS. They all have done questionable things without easy answers, but only 3 of those 4 have actually done ethically questionable things.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

gnupun (752725) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669029)

Jobs is the reason I have never owned nor ever will own an Apple product. Evil man.

It's one thing to quit the Apple job because the employee applied to Palm for a job and got a better salary. It's quite another if recruiters from Palm are actively poaching their competitors' employees. So Jobs' stance was somewhat reasonable. On the other hand, the employees deserve better pay because there was more demand for them.

Jobs did not approve of the poaching. Quitting and joining Palm on their own initiative is ok.

It is not just a matter of our employees deciding they want to join Palm. They are being actively recruited using knowledge supplied by Jon Rubenstein...

Re:I never liked him but... (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669099)

Define poaching.

Palm employees have every right to speak to Apple employees when those Apple employees are not on the clock. Why should calling an Apple employee be any different than calling any any person?

Apple does not own these folks, and has no right to say who they can speak when not on the clock. Steve Jobs was such an asshole he stole from Woz. You know the guy that without Apple would never have even existed.

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669389)

You're using a computer, so technically you are using something built by a company run by evil men.

Re:I never liked him but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668587)

Are you going to extend that to all the other companies that participated in this? For example Google? Because if you read that link, Eric Schmidt not only complies, but even is on record as wanting to do things verbally so there are no paper trails.

This is a BUNCH of people being fucking colluding dick bags. Singling one out lets the others off the hook.

Re:I never liked him but... (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668647)

It's a general corporate douchebaggery problem.. not a problem with an individual corporate douchebag.

Though what is being said about Jobs isn't probably off the mark, either...

Re:I never liked him but... (5, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668683)

They are certainly all to blame. That does not prevent us from saying someone specific is an asshole because of that, and does not make it less true either. I am tired of seeing people here thinking that being one among others makes you less guilty than if you were doing it alone.

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669011)

This attitude would kill all the conspiracies of which I am a member.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669593)

So soldiers really *ARE* murderers? I hardly think "stand your ground" would apply to US soldiers enforcing US government/business will in other nations.

Charles Manson did not kill anyone. He had other people do it for him at his request. He's in prison and will never get out and he is identified as a murderer. But when it's government? Now we get to call them heroes (and definitely not baby killers) and talk all day about how proud we are of them and we get to completely ignore the reasons or causes of the activities we have in other nations.

And before anyone goes on about not knowing what I'm talking about? I was safe aboard the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) when operation Desert Storm (then Desert Shield) was started. We were the first ones out there and among the first ones back... to a hero's welcome no less. I have seen things.

When you break it all down, most of the reasons the US military has been deployed have been lies in the past decade or so. And when they start using mercenaries (excuse me, 'contractors') in place of our regular troops, you know that even the US regulars would have serious concerns about what they are being told to do.

Sorry to go way off topic on that, but I completely agree with your sentiment. I just agree with it on a much larger scale.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668813)

"Eric Schmidt not only complies, but even is on record as wanting to do things verbally so there are no paper trails."

This is SOP for 99% of businesses honestly, not some big shocking secret unless you have never worked for anything over a small business. Even most public government entities try to run like this which is why so many more laws were created for government. One of the first rules you learn is the CYA by creating a paper trail because you can be absolutely sure your manager who is supposed to protect you wont be doing so because then it put THEIR ass in line for trouble. The second rule is if it could bite you in the ass to put it down, dont.

Re:I never liked him but... (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669467)

I recall a year ago our HR department announcing how "we have been reaching out to other companies to assure that your wages are extremely competitive." I also noted that there were no significant raises issued after this announcement. So if somethings was adjusted or changed to assure competitiveness, what was it? Agreements such as these? A reminder that other companies should lower their salary rates?

There is a bunch of this stuff going on which I always thought was illegal. But if it's not, it needs to be.

Re:I never liked him but... (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668597)

I wish some of this stuff had come out while he was alive.

A lot of it did. His asshole rep was pretty well-known long before he died. It just couldn't penetrate through the mass of fanboy and media adoration.

Re:I never liked him but... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668675)

You can read more here, http://www.folklore.org

Re:I never liked him but... (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668873)

Some things never change.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669387)

There is a reason so many people have become iFanatics (tm). Anyone remember Nick Burns [nbc.com] our companies computer guy? That is the stereotypical image the average office worker had/has of their IT dept. Want to know why we have yet to see the year of Linux on the desktop? Just look at the forums where knowledgeable technical people (not n00bs) ask simple questions about how to do something and the responses from kernel developers scolding them for not scouring through thousands of man files (most out of date or written in elvish) and using a GUI when the command line is the only acceptable means of interfacing with the system. Technology is hard for most people but nobody likes to be reminded of their lack of competence. Jobs was fanatical about hiding the how of the technology and making the function and form of the device job1. Even most technophobes can pick up an iPhone and figure out its basic functionality with little technical support. With so many people afraid of asking Nick Burns for help how can you blame them for picking a device that lets them do what they need to without his help. It's also why Android has seen mass adoption DESPITE being Linux at its core where Mameo, Meego, and MobLin have floundered. (Have you ever seen a manufacturer's stock Android device ship with any shell apps preinstalled?)

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669417)

I forgot to mention. The video in the link is ironic since they used original iMacs as props for the skit.

Re:I never liked him but... (2)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668633)

After they reinvented the mac and then the iphone/ipod/ipad etc.. Everyone just fellin love with him. Prior to that he was well known dick head. My ex boss told me a story once about some coder that worked for apple and he was in the elevator one day when Jobs walked in. Jobs just looked at him and said "what do you do here?". The coder guy told him more or less and Jobs just said "that doesn't sound very important, your fired" There were a couple other people in the elevator too and it wasn't in jest. He made sure the security saw the guy out. just felt like firing a guy that day.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

Cigarra (652458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669143)

[citation needed]

No, your ex-boss is not a trusted source.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669267)

Maybe just a rumor he was spreading.. This was also about 7 years ago that he told me that.

Re:I never liked him but... (5, Informative)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668639)

You didn't need to wait until after his death. There are plenty of people out there who knew this, ex-employees and partners all have spoken up.. Frankly, he fit the mold of every modern industrialist when it came to competition. It amazes me now how much people want to white wash him as some visionary and cult hero, he was just a ruthless entrepreneur who would walk over anybody to get what he wanted. Now it would be really great if the planet could get off his dried up nutsack.

Here's some of his less famous exploits. [businessinsider.com]

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668821)

I think the real reason I have never looked at Job's as a hero is his hypocrisy. Ruthless people don't bother me as long as they play by their own rules. It always seemed like whatever Apple did or whatever Steve did was okay even if he'd just given someone else the public riot act, or sued them for the very same.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

andydread (758754) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668941)

His hypocrisy was unparalled. Screaming for standards while trying out proprietary Sony and co. among other things.

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669067)

Ruthless people harm others. Hypocrites harm their ideologies. I'll take people over ideas any day of the week.

Re:I never liked him but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669269)

Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller... all pretty much douchebags. Also people history looks upon more favourably than they probably deserve. How will history view Donald Trump?

It's nice to see plenty of realistic, level-headed opinions of the man. He's an interesting case study, to be sure... but not much more than a ruthless, brilliant entrepreneur and idea man. He couldn't write a line of code (you know what I mean.), or come up with an idea on his own to save his life. He loved taking credit for everything, though.

The 1% of the top 1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668891)

The incredibly successful people - the top 1% of the top 1% - are almost always dicks.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669207)

It's still surprising when we get a bit more data on exactly *how much* of a dick he was. I wish some of this stuff had come out while he was alive.

Are you kidding? How far back do we need to go? When the iphone was released and they had paid actors that stood in line. The product they sell is not being sold on it's merits, but on attempting to look popular/hip. All the talk about how GPL is somehow "limiting" and how "BSD is more free", even though BSD can = free code becomes nonfree. with thousands and thousands of apple paid folks to push that viewpoint in that somehow BSD is better for being more free, while the same people who take advantage of BSD being able to be made less free, were making the statement. They didn't even invent the ipod scroll wheel, that was synaptics. Yet you don't hear people acknowledging synaptics while using their products every single day in basically every laptop that exists. And yet at the same time, people say apple is better because "it's not Microsoft", while failing to recognize that Apple actually polices what you can do with the computer and anything they don't want to allow you simply aren't allowed to do. Aka ethical quandaries? It's apple's choice. see: controversial app blocking on IOS, etc. Even Stallman makes every one of these arguments. [stallman.org]

Since when has any of that represented an actual solid product and since when has that been anything other than the highlighting of that while the software engineers at their company are certainly awesome, the company itself has been as much of a dick as Ballmer.

Re:I never liked him but... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669243)

I don't know why you are surprised by the news mentioned in the article. This is very old news. It was common for the big tech players to agree to not poach each other back in the late 90's and early 00's. Probably hidden better these days. It was "shocking" when this story broke a decade ago.

These agreements are not exclusive to tech industry either. A lot of niche service industries have similar "gentleman's agreement" amongst themselves.

I guess nothing like calling Steve Jobs a dick to win some free mod points.

Weapons... (4, Insightful)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668487)

Isn't this basically what patents have amounted to now?

Ammo to gain leverage....and still loose and flexible to be used on practically everything.

Re:Weapons... (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668631)

Yep, and even if they go in knowing they will lose, it'll still cost the other company a ton of money to defend against it.

iProtection (4, Funny)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668497)

Help us protect you from being consensually hired, or else.

corporatespeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668521)

Since /. is full of corporate sycophants these days, posted as AC.

The corporates love to scream about the free market... so if they believe so much in the free market why should "anti poaching" agreements be legal or even needed. Why has "pay your employees fairly" become such a foreign concept in these businesses.

Throw this crap OUT of the legal system. Pay your employees.

Re:corporatespeak (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668663)

Full of corporate sycopan, syncho, corporate suckasses? All posts so far are yelping about how evil and wrong this is.

For the sake of argument, the companoes voluntarily entered into this.

Also, for the sake of argument, that is capitalism, free people freely associating and organizing. If you don't like it, go make a case for its illegality.

Re:corporatespeak (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668953)

I doubt the employees got much of a say in if they wanted to participate in this. This is a group on one end of a market colluding the damage the other end of the market. This is not free association and organizing this is the sort of thing that should be a felony. It should involve a long stint in the pokey and the dissolution the charter of any corporation that does this.

Re:corporatespeak (1)

Squiddie (1942230) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669039)

Yes, free people making agreements, or entities making agreements anyway. Then why is it that the same kind of people that parrot this always support shit like right to work laws? Aren't contracts of exclusivity also freely entered into?

Eye-bleedingly high fine (5, Interesting)

N1AK (864906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668533)

It doesn't affect me directly but I really do hope that this ends in an eye-bleedingly high cost to the companies found to have colluded. They manipulated the labour market to artificially keep wages down and that needs to be punished by costs so big that anyone considering it in the future would have to be certifiably insane.

Factor in that the cost to employees could potentially be equivalent to years of lost wages and the ability to utilise this money and it really wouldn't be unreasonable to see a figure of a few $100,000 per employee theoretically covered by the no hire agreement. Give them that figure then take double as much as a fine to penalise the behaviour and you could be talking considerably more than a billion dollars and that imo is exactly what they deserve.

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668685)

I wouldn't call it collusion if Apple used the threat of a patent lawsuit to coerce Palm.

I call that duress.

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (1)

N1AK (864906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668803)

Assuming that is the case then I would accept that Palm are less at fault than Apple however this no-hire 'conspiracy' covered a significant number of firms and I doubt Apple was the only one at fault. Finally, even if Palm was threatened with consequences it doesn't completely absolve them of responsibility.

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (1)

andydread (758754) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668977)

Its possible that Apple's Jobs threatened the others with software-patent lawsuits also as they did with Palm and they complied after all Google is no known for being a patent hoarder so probably would have capitulated to Steve's demands.

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668999)

But but but... other guys!

Apple is the only one with a CEO who was worshipped, and now it turns out your hero was the biggest douchebag of all the douchebags!

Poor little fanboys, snap snap snap!

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668699)

I'm sure it will be as eye-bleedingly high as the fines levied against HSBC for laundering staggering amounts of drug money. Which is to say it will be a mere fraction of the profit from breaking the law. After all, in this case it was only thousands of tech workers losing potential salary, it's not like anyone important (from the point of view of Washington or Wall St) was harmed.

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (1, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668931)

It doesn't affect me directly but I really do hope that this ends in an eye-bleedingly high cost to the unions. They manipulated the labor market to artificially keep wages high and that needs to be punished by costs so big that anyone considering it in the future would have to be certifiably insane.

See cuts both ways. The best thing for the market is to disallow all collusion.

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668979)

That is nothing like the topic at hand.

A union can not force you to hire its members. You can find non-union workers or train some yourself.

The best thing for the market is to realize that some participants are at information and power disadvantages and to attempt to provide a level playing field.

Re:Eye-bleedingly high fine (3, Insightful)

eth1 (94901) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669605)

I think even employees that didn't look for new jobs should be part of the class. After all, if the companies knew they'd have a hard time leaving, it would allow them to keep they wages of ALL employees lower.

no-poach agreements should be illegal (1)

elloGov (1217998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668539)

Replace no-poach agreements with price-fixing agreements. No-poach agreements cap the earnings of an employee and prevents him/her from getting market value salary based on free-market supply and demands.

Re:no-poach agreements should be illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668715)

What do you mean "Should be illegal", They ARE illegal, hence the current investigations.

Reeling in shock (0)

salteye (2788803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668551)

Apple was a company full of psychotic dicks? Woah, I'm shocked.

Re:Reeling in shock (1)

JonBoy47 (2813759) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668621)

And this is different from any other major, publicly held company how exactly?

Re:Reeling in shock (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668695)

And this is different from any other major, publicly held company how exactly?

Better PR

Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668559)

Companies demand "right to work" laws to protect them from unions, under the pretense that this also gives the worker the right to leave anytime and go work wherever they choose. Exposing crap like this just shows how much a farce that really is. "Right to work" only benefits companies, NEVER employees.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668661)

Corporations are such a huge interference in the free market, I'm not sure the answer is to create something just as powerful that can counterbalance it. I think we might want to restrict what a corporation is a bit more. I'm not sure that limited liability makes sense for the people making the day-to-day decisions. Limited liability should probably only apply to passive investors.

Remember that corporations are a simple trick of law, and we can do with them as we please.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669151)

We already have something that balances corporations. In fact they are more powerful: they're called unions. Unfortunately they liked to headbutt with corporations too often that they started getting unpopular and now unions aren't as widespread.

It would be better if we had a European model of labor.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669237)

My whole post was about unions.

I disagree that the right direction to go in is MORE regulation and MORE interference in the free market. I think that we need to strip away some of the protections afforded to corporations and re-think their role in our society. Having another corporation-like entity gain even more power seems like a step in the wrong direction. History has shown how strong the feedback cycle is between corporations and government, and similarly unions and government. Now they have free speech protection, not as individuals, but as entities in of themselves.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668691)

I don't think California is a "right to work" state.

But the issue of Poaching or Employees going to a competitor is a problem. Because the company invests in these employees and then they go out to their competitor, to give them value. It is like paying your competitors bills.

I think the real issue is the complete inadequacies in most companies Human Resource Departments. They need to be active in making sure each worker is getting their market value rate, as well insuring they have opportunity to grow and advance in the organization. Otherwise we have what we have now. Get a job work there for a few years to boost your resume and skills, realize you job is leading you nowhere, then you go to an other company for higher pay and a better position and repeat. Leaving the company that you left having to hire a replacement for you, and probably having to pay the rate your new job got combined with having to train them with the skills needed to work in the organization.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (4, Interesting)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668801)

I think the real issue is the complete inadequacies in most companies Human Resource Departments. They need to be active in making sure each worker is getting their market value rate,

When Microsoft wanted to destroy Borland, they offered key engineers way above market rate to leave. They didn't want them to do anything special at Microsoft, they just wanted to bleed Borland. It worked.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669575)

That is exception to the general practice. However I doubt that Borland, was offering a better work environment than Microsoft anyways.
Do the Same Job, Get the same benefits and opportunity, But for more money. However if Borland made the employees feel like they will grow as the company does, many will turn down Microsofts short term Money for a chance for more in the future with Borland.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668875)

But the issue of Poaching or Employees going to a competitor is a problem.

It is only a problem if you haven't made it so that your employees really *want* to work for you. You can do that a lot of ways: high salary, really really nice offices, free lunches for everyone, a 40- or even 36-hour work week, really cool code, etc.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669377)

The mark of a big corporation: they would rather spend $100M on lawyers than $1M improving employee benefits.

This case just make that very explicit. Steve Jobs was willing to get into a patent war with Palm instead of giving their iPod division a raise or whatever they wanted.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669513)

Yes, that was the point of my post. Read paragraph 3

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669063)

So now employees are slaves?

A company does not invest in employees, it pays them for their time. They are not things to own. If the company wants to avoid any "investment", they can only hire employees trained in exactly what they want. If none can be found the company can feel free to close up shop.

I sell my time, if you want to make my time more valuable to you by training me during this time I am selling you that is your choice. Once the time you have bought has come to an end I owe you nothing. If this was not the case then I would have a pension, and raises that kept me at market salary. Instead we now have to switch jobs to get the market rate as raises never increase at that rate.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669313)

"So now employees are slaves?"

No. I didn't say that.
I just pointed out that employee turn over is bad for the company. If they really want to reduce the turn over they need to make working there better.

A company does invest in their employees. When you start a job, there is a period of time where you learn the ropes, figure out the details of your job. They don't just drop you and go. Their is investment, granted now there is less investment then before.

However we are in a catch 22 problem. Companies cannot invest too much in their employees because there is just to much turn over. There is too much turn over because they don't feel that they are invested in the company.

It isn't about what you owe the company, it is about the company trying to keep you there. However if you have any sense of work ethic, and the company does give you some training, you should attempt to be sure your services are valuable to the company, not that you owe them anything, but you are selling your services and you should try to give them a good product for their money.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669449)

I have no reason to give them a better product than any other buyer in the market. If they would give me a reason I would.

It is not a catch 22 at all. If they want people to stay they must pay market rates. It really is that simple. What they want is to train someone into an expensive employee and not pay that person what he is now worth. While that would be ideal from their point of view, it would also be ideal if a unicorn came into the office and did all the work for free, both options are equally likely.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669117)

why is it a problem its how the free market works unless you think Stalinist central control and 5 years plans are a good idea - you sound like some sort of "tankie" socialist :-)

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

thoth (7907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669629)

But the issue of Poaching or Employees going to a competitor is a problem. Because the company invests in these employees and then they go out to their competitor, to give them value. It is like paying your competitors bills.

Well too damn bad. This is a "problem" only from the corporate/employer point of view. From the employee point of view, it sounds to me like Corporation X is undervaluing them compared to Corporation Y, holding their market value down. The solution is to be willing adjust their compensation to reflect their value, or be willing to let them go. No different than a star athlete becoming a free agent and taking a better deal (except in the numbers involved, both salary and employee/employer population).

It cuts both ways, somebody flipping constantly might price themselves out of the market. And others, desiring more stability, might choose to stay somewhere long term. Both sound fine to me!

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

medcalf (68293) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668705)

Not at all true. Places without right to work end up with a few detrimental characteristics for workers. High wages plus union lock in plus deliberate work slowdowns, for example, mean that there are fewer jobs to go around (companies can't afford to hire more people), so it's great for those few employed, but it's terrible for the many you can't see who would have a job if they existed (which they would if the companies had to pay less for them). In addition, having been a contractor in both right to work and non-right to work states, I find that employers in right to work states are much more relaxed about working conditions. There is a lot more schedule and work condition flexibility in right to work states. Finally, as a general rule, companies in right to work states tend to pay higher rates for non-union job types (including IT, my field), because they have less personnel overhead in the categories that would be forced-union in a non-right to work state. So yeah, it's anecdotal, but my experience over 20 years has been that right to work is good for everyone except for a relatively small number of union workers.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668793)

In most cases these companies are doing business with one another, and "do not poach" policies are common. Recruiting from your customer is just bad business. If you read the emails and correspondence you will see that if a person makes contact on his/her own accord, then it is fine to pursue in most cases.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

SteelKidney (1964470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668863)

Where to begin...

First of all, California is anything but a "Right to Work state. In fact, I'd say that Michigan is the only state where unions hold more power.
Secondly, the tech sector is largely non-union regardless of where you go.
Finally, I can assure you that as a programmer in a Right to Work state, this sort of thing doesn't happen in my area. In fact, for good software developers, the pay and benefits are going up because there aren't enough of us to keep up with the demand.

Point is, you're clearly singling out the one factor that's important to you and inflating its importance while ignoring factors that don't matter to you. Which, while common- heck, even our "So Called" leaders do it- is just about the worst way to solve a problem.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668867)

I'm all for giving workers the right to choose if they want a union or not.

I'm pro worker choice.

Closed shops and union shops are bad because they force employees to support unions.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669015)

Closed shops and union shops are the companies decision. They signed those contracts, no one forced them into it.

Without unions we would still have 7 day work weeks.

Re:Just exposes the joke of "right to work" (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669487)

No, but after signing it, the *workers* are forced to go along with it even thought they have NOT signed it.

Interviews with Former Employees (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668569)

Former Apple Employee 1: Look, we went to Palm of our own free accord.
Former Apple Employee 2: That's right, it came down to who treated us better is all.
Former Apple Employee 3: I mean, you get to hear the cute stories about how Steve Jobs dropped the first prototype of the iPod -- after being told it was as compact as possible -- into a fish tank and when he saw bubbles he said it could be made smaller. But what you didn't hear was later that day when he brought the engineer onto a stage and asked him if he was as smart as possible. When the engineer said "yes" Steve pushed him into a tank with sharks in front of everyone and said, "If he's so smart, how come he just let me push him into a tank of sharks?" Oh those screams will haunt me forever.
Former Apple Employee 2: Yeah! And when I went to work at Palm I got blankets and clothing and food.
Former Apple Employee 1: Steve would make us sleep in completely bare rooms on Swedish ergonomic beds and we would have to rub turmeric all over our bodies each day and then we could only wear Apple printed paper clothing and forage for berries in the yard.
Former Apple Employee 2: After I went to work at Palm they let me get my citizenship!
Former Apple Employee 3: That's right, Steve had captured Dmitri here in Russia and wouldn't let him be exposed to daylight ... he would scream "NO YOU FOOL IT RUINS THE MEAT!" if he saw someone showing Dmitri a picture of the sun.
Former Apple Employee 1: We were just happier at Palm is all. There were so many problems at Apple like the Apple tattoos that later became just cast iron branding. I remember Jobs doing mine personally himself with his hand in his pants while screaming "HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?" as he pushed the hot brand from the fire again and again into my lower back.
Former Apple Employee 2: And the Apple brand shock collars so we couldn't leave campus ...
Former Apple Employee 3: And the time Jeb got beyond the walled garden only to find there was perimeter after perimeter of different obstacles like spheres that just floated up out of the ground and engulfed you.
Former Apple Employee 1: Yeah, when he came back, he just didn't have any legs. "A permanent fixture now with fewer buttons" is how Jobs reintroduced him to the work force.
Former Apple Employee 2: You see, Palm was just nicer. We're happier now and feel once again like human beings.

Re:Interviews with Former Employees (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668839)

I like this. You need to film it in a dark room with a bunch of chain-smoking hollow eyed guys with nervous twitches. Somewhere in the middle, have a cellphone to go off with a distinctive ring and have two of the guys react like Frankenstein to fire.

Re:Interviews with Former Employees (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669569)

I like the start of your screenplay. Can you convert to a musical? That would be perfect.

A crazy idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42668853)

If you want to keep your employees, consider treating them well and paying them closer to what they are actually _worth_. Consider that these tech companies are little more than hi-tech plantations (it applies to most companies, but tech in this case) and their workers sharecroppers. Yes, the sharecropper gets paid something for his or her productivity, but as historically implemented it was never profit sharing. Like the sharecropper vs the plantation owner, there are usually orders of magnitude between the compensation of the executive/management staff and the people that actually develop the products.

Here, a few sharecroppers realized that they could find better opportunities at other plantations and it sent the plantation owners into a tizzy because despite the several orders of magnitude difference between their compensation and the compensation of their rebellious sharecroppers, they were just that greedy. Respect, recognition, better work conditions, better health benefits, profit sharing, bonuses, merit pay, vacation, royalties, there are all kinds of ways to legitimately keep your sharecroppers especially in the face of the true value of their productivity... that is...

Unless you're an egocentric greedy bastard.

damn uppity engineers. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668997)

Obviously the solution to this is 10x more H1B visas.

when was this not the case in hi-tech hiring? (1)

museumpeace (735109) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668935)

the first time I got laid off from a bleeding-edge start-up back in '86, I belatedly read the fine print in the non-compete agreement I signed when hiring on. You have all signed such things. Did you read them? Like EULA's you have no choice really so why read it? The agreement pretty much said I could never work again unless I wanted to find a job not involving anything I learned or any skill for which I had been hired...totally sucking slavery IMO. So, I took it to a lawyer who worked such issues, mostly for aggrieved ex-employees. He read it and said no court and certainly no jury would support the employer's imposition of control over my career opportunities long after they ceased to compensate me. The nastiest of the clauses, he said, were unenforceable. I went to work for the next machine vision start-up with little trepidation after that. I never had a problem from an ex-employer but I would expect one if work I did at company x+1 or even x+2 led to a patent that stepped on the market of company x...it is only that degree of leaked technical advantage they should care about.

Re:when was this not the case in hi-tech hiring? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669085)

um yes but was this contract Justicable you can sign a contract that says you give up your statutory rights but it would not be enforceable and if you have been made redundant even more so.

Re:when was this not the case in hi-tech hiring? (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669125)

You should read those contracts. You do indeed have some leeway in them. Once they're offering you a contract, they want to hire you. If you want to change a few clauses, they will likely be fine with it, especially ones that aren't actually enforceable.

And lest you just think I'm dreaming, I've done this. I've listed out specific projects of my own that were off limits for them claiming ownership later and things like that.

Re:when was this not the case in hi-tech hiring? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669239)

You have lots of choice, I change them at every job I have ever taken.

I even signed the "Take a drug test or quit at our request" form and crossed out the take a drug test part and every reference to it. I fully intend to quit if that came up. I know not everyone is in my situation but I have medical problems my blood and urine would disclose my employer has no right to know about. I also have enough financial stability that being unemployed for 6 months would not be that big a deal.

Re:when was this not the case in hi-tech hiring? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669613)

You have lots of choice, I change them at every job I have ever taken.

You do realize that in making a "special" contract that applies only to you it becomes all that more enforceable right? One of the things that can be used to argue the non-compete doesn't apply is if they simply have a default contract that everybody from the admins to the CEO all sign. One can argue that your job function is so much different from the CEO that there is no way the same non-compete contract can apply. It was just a formality that everybody signed the same paperwork, nothing more.

This is not to say it is not a good idea to make the contract more specific. By all means, hire a lawyer and have him rewrite the contract in your favor and get them to sign it if you can..

Re:when was this not the case in hi-tech hiring? (1)

DarenN (411219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669411)

You do have a choice. Strike out the sections you don't like and return it for approval. Never sign anything because it's "unenforceable". Any reasonable employer will be ok with this, and if they're unreasonable about this, do you really want to work for them?

Re:when was this not the case in hi-tech hiring? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669515)

Non-compete contracts are unenforceable in Cali I believe. I had an lawyer suggest that I could move to the state in order to nullify a non-compete contract I was under.

In your situation, I believe that there where a number of defenses to breaking the contract available. However, I would not suggest anybody use any of them thinking you won't have an issue. Companies can, and sometimes do sue in such situations. Remember, even if it is unlikely the company will prevail in court, it doesn't stop them from dragging you though legal fees and lost work attempting to defend yourself.

Unions (1, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42668971)

It is interesting how libertarian some IT people claim to be, but as soon as they can't do what they want to do, they sue. There is nothing wrong, from a libertarian or free market point of view, for a group of companies to form a syndicate for the purpose fo managing employees. There is no shareholder value in companies fighting over employees. This only artificially raises labor costs and is a threat to profit. It is much better to agree between companies that the lowest possible compensation will be offered to a agreed upon pool of labor.

Now, obviously whiny labor who wants a great deal of money for no work is not going to like this. While the worker could use libertarian and free market values to make his or her life better, such as opening a consulting firm, find a new line of work and an employer outside the syndicate, or work within the rules of management to rise up the defined chain of responsibility, many will attack the system instead.

For instance, they will ask the government to come into and regulate the businesses by and create a crime where no crime existed by making such syndicates illegal. Or they will tell management that they must follow government rules, not the rules that will naturally create the most efficient labor market that will maximize short term profits. In the most agressive and impetuous cases, labor will organize as if they have the same rights and profit motivations as management and the firms in order to form their own syndicate to maximize the profits of labor.

Re:Unions (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669059)

"a syndicate for the purpose fo managing employees" Isn't this what a union is? Except the guy making a hugely inflated salary is the union head instead of the CEO.

Re:Unions (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669103)

Price fixing cartels are illegal

Re:Unions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669523)

They're also detrimental to capitalism, as anyone who's actually read Adam Smith is well aware. Saying that your "free market" allows collusion is an oxymoron.

Those agreements RARELY hold up... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669047)

Especially IF & WHEN they affect YOUR ABILITY TO WORK - to wit:

E.G. -> If you've been making a successful living as a computer programmer, & some company makes you sign an agreement that says "You can't work for our competitors for 'x' years after we terminate you or you leave us"? OR "Any ideas you came up with here are OURS alone, you can't take them elsewhere & use them" (even though YOU came up with them in code) - Hey - That's YOUR livelyhood!

I.E.-> That said - those agreements AFFECT it adversely, & won't hold up because of that (in many states of the union in the USA).

* A good 'tidbit' to be aware of...

APK

P.S.=> A "little something" to be aware of when it comes down to them essentially PUTTING YOU "UNDER DURESS" by MAKING YOU SIGN such an agreement in the 1st place: Contracts signed under duress are also invalid as well - PUT IT THIS WAY:

Ask ANY attorney about all of this - they'll tell you the same!

(Yes folks - It's just "KORPORATE AMERIKA" hard @ work trying to ROB YOU not only of the MOST PRECIOUS ELEMENT THERE IS - your time on this earth (we're all just visiting after all, & the time is finite for that visit), AND, your ability to keep on making a living)...

... apk

Is it Halloween already? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669157)

Since were telling ghost stories and all, just wondering

Steve Jobs was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42669475)

He was just being a humanitarian. If Jobs had been okay with Palm poaching his employees, Palm might have had the courage to start boiling or frying them instead.

He was a bully, period. (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42669501)

Jobs was just a bully. After years of being a distant second to the Wintel platform, he made sure Apple wasn't going to be pushed around in the mobile/consumer electronics markets and so did everything a bully would do to protect their interests. Lawsuits, patent hoarding, and threats to their competitors.

Not sure how or why anybody would actually leave Apple to go to Palm, but I mean if someone offered you better money and better perks then the company you are working for then by all means a person has a RIGHT to decide where they should be employed. I mean no-poach rules are simply unconstitutional, its basically a form a slavery.

How could Jobs feel so insecure as to believe Palm would be a competitor to Apple even if they poached a few key employees? I think Jobs suffered from some kind of massive insecurity complex. I definitely feel more and more stories like this are going to emerge now that the year of morning is over.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...