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 Pres 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 Palms workforce to create the original iPhone so both companies have taken from each others 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.