Court filing: Steve Jobs told Google’s Schmidt to stop poaching workers

“Apple’s Steve Jobs directly asked former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt in 2007 to stop trying to recruit an Apple engineer, according to a court filing,” Dan Levine reports for Reuters. “The email from Jobs to Schmidt was disclosed on Friday in the course of civil litigation against Apple, Google and five other tech companies.”

“The proposed class action, brought by five software engineers, accuses the companies of conspiring to keep employee compensation low by eliminating competition for skilled labor,” Levine reports. “According to an unredacted court filing made public in the civil litigation on Friday, the now-deceased Jobs emailed Schmidt in March, 2007, about an attempt by a Google employee to recruit an Apple engineer. Schmidt was also an Apple board member at the time.”

Levine reports, “‘I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this,’ Jobs wrote. Schmidt forwarded Job’s email onto other, undisclosed recipients. ‘Can you get this stopped and let me know why this is happening?’ Schmidt wrote. Google’s staffing director responded that the employee who contacted the Apple engineer ‘will be terminated within the hour.’ He added: ‘Please extend my apologies as appropriate to Steve Jobs.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Free enterprise = the free procurement of goods, services, AND labor.

    There is no such thing as “poaching” people (that’s something done to animals) nor can you “steal” people (that’s done to property).

    There is never anything wrong with offering talent a better deal. “Poaching” is code for “we’re for free enterprise when it suits us, but we’re against it…when it suits us.”

  2. Whether or not the action is illegal may depend on whether the employee has a contract with the employee forbidding such actions…which is common business practice for key employees.

    Maybe the employee complained to Apple management and asked them if they could stop Google from pestering him/her.

  3. If two companies are cooperating it would be impolite to try to hire the other companies employees. If they are competitors all bets are off. Prior to the iPhone Apple and Google had a very sympathetic relationship and I could see how Jobs would be offended..

  4. Apple is worth 450 BILLION dollars.

    Seems to me they could outbid any company on Planet Earth when it comes to salary.

    Hell- Offer me 1 BILLION and I’d never work for anyone else ever again 😀

  5. Jobs was just trying to get US engineering salaries in-line with Chinese slave wages. Gotta keep America competitive!

    I wonder if the new Apple building includes a dormitory for 8,000 engineers? So they can be on-call and ready-to-go if the VP of Engineering has a “brain fart” at 3 AM on Friday night and engineers are needed to write some code?

    1. It’s obvious you didn’t know Steve Jobs very well. He was passionate and had an incredible work ethic. Gone are the days where hard work can advance a person and earn the respect of their peers. Today most, but not all, have the mind-set that they will get a job, demand a six figure salary, receive a full benefits package, drive a company car, show up Tuesday thru Thursday, get paid for taking a vacation, tell somebody else what they should be doing and when they do show up, their “work load” is a few phone calls to friends about plans for Friday night & then sign a couple business invoices.
      Gary, for some reason, I get the feeling you fit into the “most” category……

    2. Why would you say something so foolish? Apple pays there engineers extreamly well. Apple is a great place to work has been since the early 89’s when I worked there and remains so. Is their stress hell yeah. Apple has high Standards for itself and it’s products
      And if you are not pulling you weight don’t expect to be there long.
      As far as workers making slave wages. Let’s talk about that. The people making apples phones also make xboxes and tons of other stuff. They are not just contractors for Apple but many other companies? Dell, HP, nintendo, Amazon kindles etc. so why the outrage towards apple? Look at the tv in your home most likely made in a Chinese factory and ost likely at wages and conditions that would be less than what you at you place of work.
      All in favor of making the stuff elsewhere but get ready for the cost of everything to sky rocket due to high labor cost. Say good by to 400.00 laptops, 300 dollar tv’s etc.
      If you see how much money apple has spent to make the lives of all apple assemblers in china and other countries better the argument becomes silly.

  6. American workers can and are competitive & well paid. It is, after all the unions, rules, regulations, mandates, taxes and goverment, that have brought down our work force. No one in world can beat America’s know-how, commitment & drive. Our goverment steps in; they tell us they give, promise, protect and provide, but they turn around and take it all away….. Not to long ago, we as Americans, could go to the corner cafe, pull up a chair and enjoy a nice cup of coffee, but today our government must warn us first ” Caution: Contents may be Very Hot! ” Really? As simple as it may be, this is whats wrong with America.

    1. Based upon your assessment, the U.S. would thrive beyond imagining if we eliminate unions, rules, regulations, mandates, taxes, and the government…sure. Everything would work great then.

      The government responds to the people. If people did not sue about hot coffee, then there would be no law about labeling hot coffee.

      1. People like to use the infamous McDonalds coffee suit as an example of frivolous lawsuits, but it was NOT frivolous.

        Yes, coffee is intentionally brewed to be hot, and yes, if you spill it in your lap you will burn yourself, but that is NOT what happened.

        It was proved that McDonalds was knowingly using coffee cups with a maximum temperature rating that was being exceeded by the temperature of the coffee they were brewing.

        The old lady did NOT spill coffee in her own lap.

        McDonalds, in an effort to save money, chose to use the cups they had, rather than get new ones, in an effort to save costs.

        The coffee melted THROUGH the inferior cup, and scalded the old lady’s genitals.

        This is a perfect example of how spin and good lawyers can distort the truth.

        1. And, the old lady was a passenger, not the driver. And, the car was not even moving. And, it was proven that McDonald’s knew that people were getting burnt. And, the lady tried to settle for $20,000 (McDonald’s refused) – the amount went up after discovery, when her attorneys learned just how poorly McDonald’s had been behaving across the board.

          Read more facts at:

    2. Fruitrooper,
      Not quite. It has not been your government that has imposed the kind ridiculous warnings, conditions of use, terms of entry, and product directions. It is the herds of lawyers and your litigious legal environment that has forced private companies and state organizations alike to impose such obvious and ludicrous regulations. Recall in the late 70s and 80s product liability insurance became such a burden to major US industries that many simply shutdown or moved their domicile offshore. The best example of this that I know is when Cessna, Beechcraft and Piper simply ceased production of single engine aircraft and put 120,000 highly skilled, well paid US employees out of work. At that point 45% of the pruchase price of these aircraft was product liability insurance for the manufactures and their suppliers. This was the result of oppurtunitist ambulance chasing lawyers and the courts awarding astronomical payouts for litigants under absurd circumstances and the government NOT stepping in to cap these payouts to something in the realm of believable and just. The motivation for these was the lawyer’s % based fees where they walked away with fortunes, and no liability for bringing frivolous of vexatious cases. Today, every US product has a cost component due to this. The legal firms and advisers to major manufacturers command huge retainers and salaries and these lawyers are often the people who say no to new ideas and innovation within businesses on the basis of potential legal risk (what if the sky falls in scenarios). The “free” enterprise, spoken of so reverently here, without some commonsence regulation, often leads to monopolies and significant imbalances and distorsions in the market. Among other things, that is what “you the people” and your government are supposed to do. Stop fighting over religious economic philosophies and get your elected officials to fix it. The Dr?

    3. you may be correct fruitrooper, we pay enormous tax on petrol, council tax and VAT(GST – Goods Services Tax) etc so we need to earn way more than in Asian econonomies just to be really same off. Scrap gvt and scrap warnings like on packet of peanuts “warning contains peanuts”. We cannot guarantee a nut free environment – but hey we should try.

      1. Powerbooker.
        Actually you in the US have the second cheapest gasoline prices in the world. Only the Saudis pay less. Also you don’t have a VAT or GST at all. There is no value added tax on services. Some states have a sales tax on goods only. Ensure brain is in gear before opening mouth….

  7. Really would this violate the anti-poaching laws? Schmidt was on Apple’s board, so in a way he really was responsible for actions of both companies. If Google was poaching Apple engineers, then as an Apple board member that is not something that is in the best interest of Apple and he should stop it. The issue in this particular case is because Schmidt had two masters, not necessarily because Apple and Google were fighting.

  8. Happens all the time. While working for Apple Retail, I could not actively recruit store leaders from the Gap or Gateway, for example, if the candidate was still employed there. HR would simply say, “we can’t extend them a job offer if they’re still working there, have they quit?”

    This is a common courtesy to prevent Regionals from leaving and bringing their entire store management teams with them. It has less to do with ‘salary fixing’ and more to do with reducing turnover.

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