Home opinion-and-analysis Fuzzy Logic Jobs ogled Google's job snatching, iDidn't like it

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Way back in 2007, when Google's then CEO Eric Schmidt was still a presumably trusted Apple board member, he was asked by then Apple CEO Steve Jobs to have Google stop trying to poach an Apple employee, with Google starkly promising to rapidly terminate the person responsible.


When you've got good employees, it will come as no surprise to discover that competitors will try to poach and recruit them away from you.

Given that anti-poaching agreements seem to smack of always frowned-upon anti-competitive behaviour, the world has learned that Google and Apple had their respective CEOs emailing each other about Google's attempts at recruiting an Apple engineer.

The news comes via Reuters which quotes Steve Jobs emailing Eric Schmidt stating: 'I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this', with Schmidt asking his underlings why it was happening.

Reuters' report also shows Google's 'staffing director' promising to 'terminate' the poacher in question 'within the hour'.

Google's Schmidt asked for his apologies to be passed on to Steve Jobs.

Interestingly, we learn that all of this comes via a lawsuit which Reuters reports was 'brought by five software engineers' who accuse Google, Apple and others of 'conspiring to keep employee compensation low by eliminating competition for skilled labor'.

Reuters' report has all the details, including a US Dept of Justice edict to bar any 'anti-poaching' agreements between several tech companies.

Both Google and Apple are supposed to be great places to work, so you'd have to imagine the decision for any targeted employee would have been a very difficult one.

Fast forward to 2012, and the competition between Apple and Google is as fierce as ever, as it is in the rest of the tech world, so with anti-poaching agreements barred, we can only imagine how much 'horse trading' between companies has happened since then.

May the best employees and the best companies win!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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