Steve Jobs wasn’t okay with Google hiring even former Apple engineers

“Earlier this week, PandoDaily released treasure trove of information pertaining to the anti-poaching agreements many top Silicon Valley tech firms entered into a few years back, including an email showing showing that Steve Jobs angrily called Google co-founder Sergey Brin over Google’s attempt to hire an engineer from Apple’s Safari team,” Yoni Heisler reports for TUAW.

“Indeed, it largely appears that many top executives from firms like Intel, Google, and Apple were all party to tacit agreements not to directly solicit employees from each other,” Heisler reports. “In looking over some of the publicly filed legal documents in the case, we happened to stumble upon this email thread which seems to indicate that Steve Jobs wasn’t even on-board with Google hiring engineers who no longer worked at Apple.

Heisler reports, “The email string shows that Steve Jobs… in April of 2006, ‘strongly preferred’ that Google not hire Apple engineers who had left the company in December of 2005.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Judge Koh: 60,000 Silicon Valley workers may pursue collusion case against Apple, Google, others as group – January 14, 2014
Steve Jobs threatened patent suit to enforce no-hire policy, according to court filing – January 23, 2013
Judge Koh orders Apple CEO Tim Cook to four hours of questioning in anti-poaching case – January 17, 2013
Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm fail to get staff-poaching antitrust lawsuit dismissed – April 19, 2012
Court filing: Steve Jobs told Google’s Schmidt to stop poaching workers – January 27, 2012
Did Apple CEO Steve Jobs ask Palm’s Colligan to collude? – August 20, 2009
Did Apple and Google make an anti-poaching deal? – August 9, 2009


  1. This is what most tech companies do (Not suggesting this is ok – only that the investigation should be expanded and all mgmt to be educated). I know for a fact that wireless telecom companies at least used to do that in about 10 years ago.

  2. This was just so wrong. Unless there is a non-compete agreement in force (which has very little weight in CA, btw), what someone does after they leave Apple is not Apple’s right to call. If they really don’t want those engineers working elsewhere, they can pull a “Mansfield” and offer the engineers sufficient reason to stay with Apple or not work somewhere else.

    Whether Steve Jobs like this or not is irrelevant. It’s the engineer’s call, not his. Same is true for companies today. This is why the government came down on outfits like Apple, Google, et. al.

    Sorry, being employed by Apple does not make you a slave to Apple. They (nor any other tech company) don’t have the right to tell you what you can do with your services after you leave. They can most certainly make you sign an NDA saying you won’t use company secrets you’ve learned elsewhere, but that’s a different animal from preventing you from plying your services elsewhere.

  3. Everyone makes a mistake or two. Who was that fellow that Steve hired that was responsible for antenna gate? He was let go very soon after that. I still don’t disparage Steve for that and neither should you disparage TC for Browette.

  4. Scott, is that you again?!

    Geez, get over it already. Apple made you very rich. Go find an island and chill. Or better yet, go do something insanely great on your own. 😉

  5. I believe that these agreements should be absolutely illegal. Americans have freedom of speech and if a company holds us to not working for a competitor they are effectively infringing upon our speech. Corporations are great and wonderful things when they do great and wonderful things. But if Congress cannot pass a law that infringes upon our freedom of speech how can a company force us to sign a contract that infringes our freedom of speech? Of course, working for any company is voluntary. But once you leave, you leave. Europe has stopped the practice because it is BAD FOR BUSINESS to not let “blood” mix and people who have learned great things take them to other places to heat up the competition. Competition makes industry great and I believe that if Apple (a company I LOVE) cannot compete with Google for great engineers, then Apple has a problem, not Google and not the engineer. I also think that patents MUST be tighter and better enforced. That is how you stop great engineers from stealing IP and taking it to another company.

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