National Semiconductor giveth Apple iPods and it taketh away Apple iPods

“National Semiconductor giveth, and it taketh away,” Barry Shlachter, Jim Fuquay, and Maria M. Perotin report for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company gained loads of publicity last month for announcing plans to give every employee a 30-gigabyte video iPod,” Shlachter,Fuquay, and Perotin report. “Last week, the company laid off 35 employees at its Arlington plant. To the surprise of some at the plant, the laid-off workers were asked to give back their high-tech toys.”

Shlachter,Fuquay, and Perotin report, “A person who called the Star-Telegram claiming to have been one of the 35 laid-off workers said many employees at the Arlington plant were under the impression that the iPods were theirs to keep. Some had sold them or given them as gifts, according to the caller. ‘Nothing was ever said about ever having to give it back,’ the caller said. ‘If I’d known it was company property, I never would have picked it up.'”

“‘They were not a gift,’ company spokeswoman LuAnn Jenkins said Friday. Jenkins said she didn’t know whether the company ever intended for the workers to keep the iPods,” Shlachter,Fuquay, and Perotin report. “Employees who leave the company can return the device or pay ‘fair market value’ for it, she said.”

“As more than 100 workers enthusiastically received their iPods one morning last month at the Arlington plant, two company spokesmen would not directly answer questions from Star-Telegram reporter Aman Batheja as to whether workers would be able to keep the iPods once they left the company. ‘We haven’t crossed that bridge,’ said Scott Kahl, human resources director,” Shlachter,Fuquay, and Perotin report. “The road to that bridge turned out to be pretty short.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rob” for the heads up.]
Alternate headline: “Good publicity goes bad.”

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Related article:
National Semiconductor gives all 8,500 employees 30GB video-capable Apple iPods – June 12, 2006


  1. Add my vote to the “bad form” side.

    Most companies “give” their employees “stuff”. They generally distinguish between “gifts” and “company property for your use”, though, and sometimes tell you what you can, or cannot, do with said company property.

    NS obviously did not specify their continued ownership up front.

    Were I one of those laid-off workers – not one who was fired – I’d tell NS where to stuff their request for the return of “their” property. The iPods were not handed out for use in the performance of job duties, and not handed out with the express understanding they were company property, and NS would not be getting mine back until a court of law (small claims court – spare no expense) said otherwise. Let the “suit” who designed the program – and gets the big bucks without fear of lay-offs – make recompense to NS.

  2. Whatever numbskull manager that decided to ask for the iPods back needs to join the unemployment line with his former co-workers. I would be highly embarassed to work for NS today.

  3. If it were me in that situation, I have a solution that would satisfy me, as the laid off employee, and would keep my arsehole ex-employer off my back: Keep the 30GB 5G Video iPod that they gave me, give them my 2yr old monochrome 20GB 4G iPod (yeah, THAT one, with the dead battery, lol). They can’t complain because they’d be getting AN iPod back, which has (or had, anyway), the same approximate value, and I’ll bet that whoever is collecting them wouldn’t really notice right away anyway. You know what geniuses middle managers can be… [ROFL!]

    After all, it’s not like they’re bastard enough to match each 5G iPod’s serial number to each employee, and if they DID, well, screw them anyway. My loyalty would have died the moment they pulled that stunt.

    MDN magic word = “simple”, as in, “Simple problem, simple solution.”

  4. Clearly the company should have sent out a memo before they gave any employee anything, to let them know what the iPods are supposed to be for. Clearly National Semi blew it big time by not stating before they gave out the iPods what they were to be used for and who they belonged too. I don’t get how they could give people iPods and not expect them to think it was still company property without clearly explaining that before hand. I feel very bad for the people who got laid off and now have to pay for something that they were given which was thought of as a bonus, not company property. Really, really stupid who ever thought this up. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”downer” style=”border:0;” />

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