Aug 25, 2009

Apple and the no poach with Palm

Tribute to Steve JobsImage by macinate via Flickr
This is interesting. I have always believed that a no-poaching agreement is morally wrong in free markets and therefore Steve Jobs' offer is wrong on so many counts

Two years ago, Palm's then CEO, Ed Colligan, rejected a proposal from Apple chief Steve Jobs to promise not to hire each other's employees, according to Bloomberg News.

According to Thursday's Bloomberg story, which cited unspecified "communications" between the two executives, Colligan in August 2007 said that Jobs' proposal was ill-considered. Jobs was worried about losing key Apple employees to Palm and said "we must do whatever we can to stop this," reported Bloomberg.

"Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal," Colligan told Jobs, according to the communications reviewed by Bloomberg.

Obviously Palm did not agree with proposal as it needed to actually hire Apple's executives. And of course, Apple would be legally within its rights to safeguard its IPR legally - however a non-poaching agreement is the wrong way to tie people in.

It's always better to make people stay by making them want to stay rather than erecting walls.

People never want to stay in places which force them to stay - and productivity is the first casualty.

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