Apple's Jobs sought no-poaching deal with Palm

Two weeks ago we reported that Apple and Google were being investigated for suspicion of anti-competitive hiring practices. The belief is that, in California where non-compete agreements are rarely, if ever enforced that Google and Apple had an unwritten rule to prevent the poaching of employees from either business. Now Bloomberg News confirms that Steve Jobs wanted to make a similar deal with Palm.

The talks began in 2007 after Palm hired former Apple executive (now Palm CEO) Jon Rubinstein who was critical in the creation and release of the original iPod. Former Palm CEO Ed Colligan supposedly rejected the offer, after much deliberation, because he felt any deal would be wrong and could be illegal. As we noted in our previous article, as long as nothing is in writing these types of deals are technically legal. While exact specifics of what was purposed are not available, similar agreements basically prevent companies from recruiting specific employees but are free to hire employees who applied of their own volition.

Many attribute the Palm Pre's easy touch gestures and iTunes syncing to the Apple employees that Palm snatched away. Apple has taken shots at Palm and followed the launch of the Pre with several quotes that it was prepared to defend its intellectual property and has gone through several rounds with Palm over the Pre syncing with iTunes.

While it is now common knowledge that several Apple employees were hired for the creation of the Palm Pre, Apple hired at least 2 percent of Palm's workforce to create the original iPhone so both companies have taken from each other's cookie jars. And both Apple and Palm have declined to comment on the matter so it will definitely be interesting to see how this spat turns out.

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This doesn't even need a comment, but I'm bored, so..

"Apple hired at least 2 percent of Palm's workforce to create the original iPhone"

And now Apple is crying because of the Pre? What a joke!

It's kind of funny, but I actually sort-of agree with Apple on this one.

It makes sense, for Apple to have hired Palm employees, when Palm was struggling, and had no directly competing product. On the other hand, having Palm try to hire Apple employees to develop a directly competing product seems just plain wrong. I know Palm had smartphones, but I'm talking about a nearly feature-point identical competing product, like the Pre vs iPhone. The same would be true if RIM tried to hire Apple employees to develop the BB Storm, or LG to develop their Vu smartphone.

I would agree with Palm if the roles were reversed, and Palm hired Apple employees to develop the Pre first, and then Apple tried to hire Pre developers to make a competing iPhone.

That's not to say this entire thing is just plain wrong.

it doesn't matter if the phones weren't the exact same feature wise...Palm clearly had a competing product and I can't see how you can argue otherwise. Apple entered the industry to make a phone...it's not like they reinvented the wheel in doing so.

I don't see the surprise. These are talented people who have proven themselves with the relevant skill sets. Palm was the standard in touch screen PDA/phone devices so it made sense that Apple hired some of its creators to work on their touch screen PDA/phone device. Apple iPhone became the standard against which consumer touch screen PDA/phones were judged so when Palm wanted to build their successor to the iPhone they similarly hired people experienced with designing such devices.

It's not like the companies own these guys. If you were an experienced developer of touchscreen smartphones it makes sense to look for work (surprise!) designing touchscreen smartphones.

Wow. Very interesting. The talks began then AFTER Apple hired at least 2 percent of Palm's workforce to create the iPhone? But when it happened to Apple they wanted to talk and make a deal? How interesting. LOL

How typical of Apple. They can dish it out but can't take it. They did the same thing with Microsoft. Bash bash bash in TV ad's making over inflated comments about Windows vs Mac but when Microsoft FINALLY returns the favor with their laptop hunter ads, Apple cries like a baby and wants the ads pulled because the information is no longer correct (although it was correct when the ad was launched).

This is how they operate. The biggest bunch of cry babies I've ever seen. I cannot stand that company.