The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees

The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees

Summary: A 2007 e-mail uncovered in the course of a lawsuit reveals that under Steve Jobs' request, Google's Eric Schmidt got one of the company's own recruiters fired after they tried to hire an Apple engineer.

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TOPICS: Google, Apple
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A polite 2007 e-mail sent from late Apple visionary Steve Jobs to Google founder and then-CEO Eric Schmidt asking the latter to stop poaching the former's employees has surfaced. And the really crazy part is that Schmidt conceded.

According to the original Reuters report, the e-mail entered the public eye as the result of an ongoing civil lawsuit against Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, Intuit and Pixar - over allegedly violating antitrust laws by keeping salaries low by conspiring to not hiring each other's employees.

Apparently, a Google recruiter tried to snag an Apple engineer, which was even more of a faux pas given that Schmidt served on the Apple board at the time.

"I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this," Jobs' message to Schmidt reportedly said.

"Can you get this stopped and let me know why this is happening?" Schmidt wrote to undisclosed recipients in his e-mail forward of Jobs' message.

Schmidt sent that e-mail on, and it eventually worked its way down the chain to the manager of the recruiter in question, who apparently replied that the recruiter would be terminated "within the hour," with that same manager asking for his personal apologies to be extended to Jobs.

Reuters has plenty of legal nitty-gritty and some more perspective on the case, but if Google and Apple are under scrutiny for colluding to this e-mail seems like a smoking gun. And if nothing else, it's a reminder that the late Steve Jobs may have been a genius, but he wasn't always the nicest person.

Topics: Google, Apple

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  • RE: The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees

    This sort of thing is not morally, ethically, or legally acceptable. An employee's pay is only measured by what he/she can bargain for. If they deserved higher pay, but it was withheld by agreement, that is collusion.

    Apparently, worker's rights and compensation are NOT at the top of some lists. This was by companies that, by all means, had little reason to do so when compared with other struggling companies in the US.
    TechNickle
    • RE: The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees

      @FuzzyBunnySlippers

      And people still ask why American jobs is going overseas.

      People are not robots. They don't just forget whatever they are doing in the first company, the bring that to the next company they work for, and in the above case seems to be that Google was trying to hire a very specific engineer. Why that engineer? And how did Jobs knew about it, other than the fact that most probably the same engineer went to Apple and say, "Pay me more.. Or else!"

      Imagine if people are poaching all over the place then? You drive up salaries to insane level, secret product developments go all over the place. In the end, companies may just say fine, we do the concept, then let some engineer in our Asian subsidiary figure this out.

      Come to think of it, that would be very good, since I don't live in the US. Go ahead then. Make sure the Taiwanese gets to engineer the next iPhone also. Heck, you already are making iPhones in China anyway.
      madfry
      • Money allows freedom to associate

        @madfry
        Top executives are head-hunted ALL the time, but those lower down are excluded? That is hypocracy!

        You read about changes of top executives on ZDNet et al, but do you see their jobs advertised on job boards like Seek? No! They are recruited by head-hunting agencies who do it discreetly. What is the difference if a company's HR department does it instead?

        What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

        Money allows each individual to have a nominal worth according to their skills and abilities that makes them able to potentially move around the world according to their will and choices.

        In the dark past (and current in many paces in the world), most were slaves or serfs -- tied to their owners -- and receiving no money that would enable them to move around or make lifestyle choices.
        Patanjali
      • RE: The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees

        @madfry If a company wants to lock you down for the duration of a project, then offer you a solid contract. If you are not under contract, you are free to consider all other possibilities. So long as I am employed by my employer, I am loyal, I look out for their best interests and I do quality work. However, they are free to let me go at any time - and they do this from time to time. As such, I am free to consider other opportunities and it is inappropriate, absent a contract guaranteeing me employment, for my current employer to seek to limit those other opportunities.
        FinanceBuzz
    • Lateral east young man!

      @madfry
      [i]In the end, companies may just say fine, we do the concept, then let some engineer in our Asian subsidiary figure this out.[/i]

      And but another reason, in a now endless stream of possibilities and pathways, to lateral each and every ball to Asia. I give you credit for creative thinking. You should go far as a corporate denizen. Recruiters!

      Only you do realize that we also import foreign labor by the millions from south of our border, year after year (all in violation of existing laws, but condoned and protected by our Federal overlords). That's because our blue collar stiffs are no longer held to be "worthy" either. You know, because they expect to be paid enough to make it from paycheck to paycheck. Tsk tsk. The fools.

      Do the math and you'd see that could add up to a bit of jack when compared to foreign sweatshop brigades. Heck, none of those American louts even carry four, let alone eight, year degrees. How could dime-a-dozen billionaires, and of course the tech [i]nouveau riche[/i], relate to such fools and their families? Are you kidding, with billions to be salted and stashed in profits every quarter? GIVE ME A BREAK.

      We then import throngs of engineers + coders + scripters of every imaginable (but cheaper) stripe from Asia and elsewhere, only in somewhat reduced numbers. Yet even there, we're bombarded with incessant pleas from within the industry to import more. And more. And ever more! That's cuz we Americans don't have the brains. That's what they tell us, so it must be true. :(

      Ironically, lots of experienced Yanks - ones who helped build the industry along with our vaunted military complex, only on longer term contracts - are no longer "prime time" either. They've become dinosaurs, with baggage. And like those lower caste, blue collar heathens, too costly. Much too costly. Really, what tech industry mavens can relate to riff raff and fossilized cast offs?

      And if all that wasn't enough, our now mostly foreign corporations *still proudly bearing American names and HQed here!* offshore any crumbs and tidbits left to Asian shores so they can avoid paying common American workers honest wages, especially when it *ach* might include a modicum of benefits. All but a lucky few mind you, mostly ones who pass trick interview questions. Such talent!!

      Everything else violates Multinational Rule Number One: [i]There are ALWAYS cheaper drones to be tapped from remote corners of the globe.[/i] Of course robots, cluster/grids and artificial intelligence harnesses will soon enough replace what's left of the gaggle of survivors. At least in America. Until then, lateral to Asia!
      klumper
  • RE: The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees

    This is feudalism at its best.
    "My lord, the peasant, who dared to offend his majesty was hanged. Please forgive your humble servant and spare my life, my family and my lifestock. Long live the (king, emperor, CEO)"
    Truly f&$%#^ disgusting!
    kirovs@...
  • Ivory tower to Ivory tower

    Come in Ivory tower.<br><br>Check. Go ahead Jobber.<br><br>Hey, how 'bout, uh, let's do lunch Smitty. We need to talk. Over.<br><br>Yeah, what about this time? I already got an iPad. And an iPhone for the little lady. Not sure if it broke yet. She drops it a lot. And them damn things ain't cheap, you know? OVER [said sarcastically while grinding teeth, then throws dart across room at Steve Jobs manikin but hits Bill Gates one next to it in frustration]<br><br>Uh, che che check there big guy. No, no... uh we need to talk about, er, you know, quote unquote, roping in worker pay. You know, and uh pimpin' each other's cattle. Uh, you copy Smitzy?<br><br>Ah ten four Jobe. Yeah... gotchya, uh..... <br><br>In the meantime, could you clown one of your recruiter peons who's violated that, you know, line in the sand, uh, we all drew at the Bilderberg Club year's back, uh wink wink, if you catch my drift, eh big guy? Name is [b][***removed to protect innocent until presumed guilty***][/b]<br><br>WHAT THE... [[b]*expletive deleted*[/b] -- holds phone to chest for a second, regains composure, then resumes] Oh sure, that's a big ten-four Jobby. No sweat, consider it a done deal. Hey, lunch at Spago's at 2:00. Check's on you buddy.<br><br>See you then Smitty. Say hello to those two kids running the playground, er.., show. Sorry, can't remember their names [*winces*] ... ah you know who I mean.<br><br>Yeah yeah, don't remind me. [grinds teeth] <br>
    Brent Sergey and uh.... Larry... Larry... Leaf? No, uh ... Chapter? ... uh ...

    Whatever, save your breath. [*shakes head*] Ciao 'till then Mac. [hangs up phone and grinds teeth some more]<br><br>*Composes and sends email down chain of command* FINI
    klumper
  • RE: The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees

    "but if Google and Apple are under scrutiny for colluding to this e-mail seems like a smoking gun"

    I admittedly don't know the facts but I can't believe the statement ???I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this,??? could be interpreted as collusion in any sense of the word.
    Gr8Music
    • Call it incitement

      @Gr8Music
      Asking other companies not to recruit one's employees is at the very least an invitation to collusion.
      John L. Ries
  • Yet another case...

    ...of a company that treats employees like property, or so it seems. Recruiting other companies' employees isn't stealing; never has been; never will be. As long as they're not under contract and are legally allowed to work, it's perfectly proper for employers to offer jobs to whomever they like and for employees to work for whomever will have them.

    If employers want their workers to be loyal to them, then they had better provide good reasons.
    John L. Ries