Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Mar 2014 14:48 UTC
Legal

In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the "Google.com Engineering" group made a career-ending mistake: She cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email, violating the secret and illegal non-solicitation compact that her boss, Eric Schmidt, had agreed with Apple's Steve Jobs.

What happened next is just one of many specific examples of how people's lives were impacted by the Techtopus wage-theft cartel that was taken down by the Department of Justice antitrust division, and is currently being litigated in a landmark class action lawsuit.

This story sent shivers down my spine. What a bunch of horrible, unethical scumbags. Sadly, their criminal behaviour won't really have any meaningful consequences. These people reside above the law.

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v What is wrong with their behavior?
by ioconnor on Wed 26th Mar 2014 15:18 UTC
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

First I dislike google and apple.

However if I had an employee that was violating company rules, in this case extremely so, I'd want that employee fired yesterday. Messing with Steve Jobs is like playing with an angry snake. Having an employee risking billions and the companies future is a nightmare and the employee needs to be fired with extreme prejudism.


...except the "rule" in question was part of a backroom agreement cooked up between Apple and Google to illegally limit the the employment prospects of their staff. Ya know, that minor detail that was thoroughly outlined in TFA.

Oh, and what exactly is "prejudism"? Is that anything like "prejudice"?

Reply Score: 15

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

why is everyone shocked?


Because you have autism and can't tell the difference between shock and outrage.

Reply Score: 3

egarland Member since:
2005-08-05

This would be like finding out that Target and Walmart had constant meetings to set pricing. It's illegal because it side-steps the competition which is required for capitalism to work properly.

People forget that a free-for-all that lets companies do what they want doesn't result in capitalism, it results in a broken mess of exploitation, which is why built into the base of all capitalist systems are laws that force competition and outlaw cooperating to avoid that competition. These companies brazenly violated those laws.

Reply Score: 3

dorin.lazar Member since:
2006-12-15

No, it's not the same. This is an agreement not to hunt the other's employees. Which is only fair, given the fact that Google as an employer might be damaged due to unlawful contact of its new employee with patents and intellectual property that would belong to Apple.

I would probably have a similar clause if I was them.

Reply Score: 0

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

No, it's not the same. This is an agreement not to hunt the other's employees. Which is only fair, given the fact that Google as an employer might be damaged due to unlawful contact of its new employee with patents and intellectual property that would belong to Apple.


Riiiiight, if only there were laws on intellectual property or industrial/corporate espionage that would allow Apple to take legal action against Google in such a situation... or things like contracts & contract law that Google could use to limit their own liability.

Someone should really get on that. But until there are formal laws & legal processes for that, I guess that Apple and Google just have no choice but to enter into secret anti-poaching agreements. Because it's not as if multi-billion dollar multi-national companies would ever try to do an end-run around proper legal channels just because it's cheaper/easier, amirite?

Reply Score: 4

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

People forget that a free-for-all that lets companies do what they want doesn't result in capitalism, it results in a broken mess of exploitation, which is why built into the base of all capitalist systems are laws that force competition and outlaw cooperating to avoid that competition. These companies brazenly violated those laws.


At least this was what I learned in my economics class. Seems a lot of people think free market means freedom to act.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_Competition

Reply Score: 3

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Do you know the many-clause agreement that a new Google, Microsoft or Apple employee signs? How many do you think are similar to this one or worse?


I'm guessing that you're referring to things like non-compete clauses in employment contracts? As detestable as those "I agree to be unemployed for X number of years if I cease working here" clauses are, they're still better than what Apple and Google were doing. At least those are actual formal clauses in contracts, which people can refuse to sign or challenge in court* - how are people supposed to do that with anti-poaching agreements that they're not even aware of in the first place?

And egarland is completely correct that it's just as bad as price-fixing (and for exactly the same reasons) - the only difference is that here, in effect, it's wages that are being fixed rather than prices. Ideally, Apple should be forced to pay compensation to any of their staff who had even the remotest chance of making more money at Google (and ditto/vice-versa for Google) - retroactive to whenever the anti-poaching agreement began.

Reply Score: 3

RobG Member since:
2012-10-17

The entire company is violating the law with this agreement, so if I was that employee I'd be seeking compensation, of a large order.

Reply Score: 4

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I see nothing wrong.


The non-poaching agreement that Google, Apple and several other big companies had is illegal. That's what's wrong there.

Reply Score: 19

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's illegal to make such an agreement, it's not illegal to make it your policy if that's done without talking to other companies.

But the spine shivers and horrible unethical scumbags comments are just silly. Read the news for a day and you can come up with a bunch of stories that are way worse. And that's just the stuff we know.

In this case Apple was a very important partner for Google. Google didn't want to piss them off (just yet). Had the recruiter, who ignored company rules, remained at her job other people would have lost theirs.

It's sad, but it's reality: big companies and rich people didn't get where they are now because they always followed the rules.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Read the news for a day and you can come up with a bunch of stories that are way worse.


This is, and always will be, a complete non-argument.

"Fuck I just broke my leg it hurts and I feel like shit."

"Shut up and stop whining. People in Africa have aids, and hence, you have no right to complain."

It's sad, but it's reality


Another huge non-argument.

"Do not complain about people being scumbags because it's normal for these people to be scumbags."

Reply Score: 17

saso Member since:
2007-04-18

If this really upset you you should be dead after hearing all the stuff that goes on in this world.

When argument shown to be faulty, repeat argument.

Reply Score: 9

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

Nobody here is pretending. I'm a software developer, and this is deeply upsetting.

The only surprising thing is it doesn't upset you! People like you are the reason this kind of crap becomes inevitable, because you are happy to accept it.

Steve Jobs was brilliant in many ways, but there's no getting around the fact that he was a c*nt.

He treated his staff with contempt. He treated projects he didn't like with contempt. He treated his customers with contepmt, and he treated the law with contempt.

Reply Score: 11

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's not surprising it doesn't upset me or, as you generalizing put, "people like me", because:

(1 I don't know this woman
(2 I don't work for Apple or Google
(3 I'm not a software developer
(4 This happened a long time ago
(5 This was in the news a long time ago

So I'm not upset, nor am I happily accepting it. It's against the law and even though I can understand both sides (employer and employee) I think it should not be allowed.

I would be upset if I were this woman or I knew this nameless and faceless woman. If Thom's favorite pen broke I can understand he'd be upset, despite some plane full of people (and their pens) missing which would be worse. Stuff that happens to us personally it always much worse than stuff that happens far away to people we have no bond with. So if Thom gets shivers down his spine because an unknown woman apparently was fired he's just pretending to be upset to make the article more interesting just like the comments added between the emails by the site editors to which the link points that try to spoon feed an opinion to us to make it much worse/evil than it really is.

My argument is that we should become realistic and stop pretending the world is a nice and happy place and these things are isolated incidents. Because now, people like you, are kidding themselves that people and companies abide the law and are out there for YOUR best interest. They are not, they are all in it for themselves and they break laws all the time.

Steve Jobs wasn't a nice personal and he died as a very rich and successful person while a lot of nice people die poor and not successful. That's the deeper thought behind this article: those who bend or break rules are more successful. "People like you" let this happen, because they either are not aware of this or don't want to know.

Think of politicians. They lie to us, we know they lie, they know we know they lie, but they still lie and we still vote for them because even though we know they lie we still believe them. And then people like you get upset when it turns out they they lied to us. People like me don't accept the lies, but we accept that it happens so we are aware and not surprised when another story hits the media.

Reply Score: 1

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

You're trying to change your position to sound less cold hearted and failing.

In your original post you implied that although the action was illegal, you didn't think it was that big a deal.

You apparently have trouble distinguishing between an optimistic realist and a cynic. Simply because bad things shock you doesn't mean you are naive about their existance. I don't want to become desensitised to bad behaviour. Once you accept it, you condone it.

Also, because unethical behaviour doesn't affect you, doesn't mean it doesn't affect anyone else. Try to imagine a world where not every person thinks like you do.

Reply Score: 6

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

I didn't know Steve Jobs well. I only exchanged several emails with him. His responses were always polite, he never treated me with contempt. Just the fact that he responded was an indication that he cared.

I also happen to have friends who work at Apple who worked for Steve. They all thought highly of him. He was certainly demanding but he was never demeaning.

Finally one of my former investors was a personal friend of Steve. He never had anything but positive things to say about him.

( That's not to say Steve was a good guy all his life but denigrating someone you don't know is a, honestly, a terrible reflection on you. )

Reply Score: 2

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

You obviously have never seen any of the numerous documentaries about his legendary bouts of abuse that he applied to pretty much everyone.

Once having a bad day, he entered an interview where an introverted developer was awaiting the questions.

Jobs kicked off with: "what the fuck are you doing here?"

While the candidate was stammering out a reply, jobs interrupted with: "you've never been laid have you?"

Shortly after that jobs ended with "get out, and don't come back".

He also refused to pay any money to his daughter or her mother, even though he knew full well the child was his. All this despite the fact that he had more money than the pope.

These are just two of many examples.

Reply Score: 2

mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

Know the comment has already been very upvoted but still, Very well said!


It's the same with (should) 'not be doing' ALL the bad stuff...

as it is with (should) 'be doing' ALL the good stuff..!

You don't /shouldn't not build roads, or that new high speed rail link.. "coz you could build a new hospital for sick children" ((some people's silly brain keep aberrantly inserting the word INSTEAD all over the place!!)).

Reply Score: 2

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

On the one hand, there is no question that this 'policy' was illegal and appropriate legal action is being taken. No one will be held personally responsible but the companies in question will no doubt pay a monetary price and such policies will (for the most part) stop.

On the other hand, firing someone for violating a strict company policy is not uncommon in the United States and clearly this person didn't bother to read the policy and paid for it. ( Lucky for them, this person who was fired for violating an illegal policy and she will no doubt be rewarded handsomely. )

All is well. You might argue some software developers were 'hurt' in SV because of this policy but if you look at the salary sales growth in SV after this policy was stopped there does not appear to be any difference. ( And, you know, the average software developer in any major US technology hub earns 100k after 4 years, about 2.5x the average American, irrespective of experience, so it's not like anyone is suffering here. )

The reality of our society is that companies will do what they can get away with in the name of getting ahead. It's not just large companies, it's also small companies, including start-up's.

We sometimes violate patents ( because their broad and stupid ), we sometimes violate API usage policies ( because their absurdly restrictive ), we sometimes violate privacy policies ( because our software would be crap if we followed them all ). Are we all scumbags Thom?

If you read through the emails in this case no one was making any personal attacks, no one was calling anyone names, everyone was polite and efficient and 'playing the game' that everyone in SV plays.

In contrast ( purely as an example ) you have no problem calling people names, blasting companies, their founders and executives, for any infraction you can find, real or imagined, spouting conspiracy theories, denigrating your commenters and so on and so forth. Now as it happens, I don't think your a lunatic dick, I think you know that that's the sort of thing that drives traffic. Your 'playing the game'.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

It's illegal to make such an agreement, it's not illegal to make it your policy if that's done without talking to other companies.


Ok, but the only reason it would ever happen in the first place is because the companies in question talked to each other.

Reply Score: 4

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It could also be that Steve had a very well developed wink.

My guess is Steve and Eric spoke in person, as Eric was on Apple's board for a while and Apple and Google were close for a time anyway.

But it's not just Google and Apple, there are a number of big names all in agreement not to pouch each others employees. And that's just what we know.

Reply Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

There's no violence. There's nothing unethical, horrible and/or abusive about having a non-poaching agreement in between parties. Where is the boogieman?


There's nothing unethical in denying people jobs even if their skills and all fulfill any requirements needed to do the job just in order to be able to keep their wages low? Are you seriously asking that?

Reply Score: 9

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Why did you change the subject?


Where? I thought we were talking about the anti-poaching agreement? You do know what it means, do you?

It's an agreement that the companies will not hire people that are currently working for or used to work for the other companies within that same agreement, meaning that any employee affected can't find a better-paid job anywhere and if they were to quit their job no one would hire them, thereby allowing these companies to keep their wages low as the employees have nowhere else to go.

Now tell me, where did I change the subject?

Reply Score: 7

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

This contract doesn't do any discrimination.


Yes, it does. It is rather clearly discrimination when it is all about limiting movement of employees between the companies within the agreement. And just to make sure you know this, Apple and Google weren't the only ones in it: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/03/24/google-apple-anti-poaching-agre...

And any actions regardless of outcome can affect market pricing.


Irrelevant. It's about wages, not market-prices.

Hires were told of this clause and consented knowingly. Employees were reminded every 6 months.


They had no choice. If they didn't consent they wouldn't get a job.

My original point still stands. Where is the violence?


Don't be childish. That's like saying that anything goes as long as there isn't violence: depriving people of food and water, shelther, rights, money, stealing from people is okay as long there's no violence and so on.

Well no, it doesn't work like that. I'll bet my ass that you would be crying foul and call it wrong if I stole everything you had and burned the rest down, even if you weren't physically hurt by it.

Reply Score: 5

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

My original point still stands. Where is the violence?


No it doesn't. When is violence a prerequisite for something to be declared illegal? That is a stupid opinion.

Reply Score: 8

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

My original point still stands. Where is the violence?


You are the only person bringing up "violence", so it's no wonder you aren't getting an answer to that question. It's not only off-topic, it's nonsensical. Of course, your comment history on this site speaks for itself.

Reply Score: 5

leos Member since:
2005-09-21


It's an agreement that the companies will not hire people that are currently working for or used to work for the other companies within that same agreement, meaning that any employee affected can't find a better-paid job anywhere and if they were to quit their job no one would hire them, thereby allowing these companies to keep their wages low as the employees have nowhere else to go.


Keep their wages low? Yeah, Google and Apple are well known for paying low wages. What planet are you on?

Reply Score: 1

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Yes, it's not about wages, certainly not for Apple and Google.

It's about having a team consisting of smart people working on your next killer product leaving with their knowledge to a competitor setting your team back.

So I can understand companies trying to prevent people moving to other companies.

We must also not forget that people can leave Apple and Google if they want to. The illegal deal made was to stop actively persuade people to switch sides.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Let's see... Paying high wages and paying wages that are appropriate to your contribution is two different things.

Being a CPU designer limits your employment opportunities, yet your contributions directly lead to billions in profits and millions in compensation packages to the CEOs.
You not being able to say - I generate you billions in profits now please give me my due - is a limitation of employment at will principle.

Reply Score: 3

rhy7s Member since:
2008-08-04

Denial of a job that pays the same I could see as unethical. I don't exactly see how the ethics of either party involved in predatory hiring through wage increases are above reproach. It just seems to be one small part in the continued rise of economic disparity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality by those who feel justified in clawing their way to the top. I somehow doubt they're head-hunting janitors.

Reply Score: 2

Darkmage Member since:
2006-10-20

Are you insane? the entire point of that agreement was to suppress wages. It's basically locking in all IT workers to a single low pay standard. Without job mobility, there's no way you can argue for a pay increase. I guess we should all just work at burger flipping rates forever right?

Laws exist around this stuff, because it hinders social mobility and is akin to wage slavery. if you halt social mobility too much, you very quickly end up with an uprising on your hands. This kind of stuff led to the formation of the union and anarchy movements. Until unions came along and actually fixed wages/pay conditions, people used to throw dynamite sticks into crowded areas, (very similar to terrorism now) because their needs and frustrations weren't being met by the ruling classes.

Just read history if you want to understand why these laws exist. There's very good reasons why it's illegal to lock employers into many of these stupid agreements. If pushed too far, the average middle class person, can become the most violent/dangerous insurgents.

Edited 2014-03-26 18:23 UTC

Reply Score: 9

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

There's no violence. There's nothing unethical, horrible and/or abusive about having a non-poaching agreement in between parties.

A 4-year-old could understands this stuff.


So you're saying you're 3?

Reply Score: 5

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

This right here is the problem I have with libertarians, because they refuse to see that without regulation all you end up with is nasty backroom deals like the above. While the other poster may not be a card carrying libertarian I have noticed he leans towards the "free market invisible hand" which time and time again we have seen just does not work.

The "You can work somewhere else" argument does not hold when multiple companies can cut backroom deals to limit what you can get and punish those that don't bow down, and we have seen time and time again without regulations with teeth and watching them like a hawk instead of the fairytale "freemarket competition" what you get instead is trusts, cartels, and price fixing. We in tech have seen everything from Intel bribing OEMs to sell shitty powerhog chips over better performing ones to the RAM OEMs getting together to make sure the price stayed high, over and over its the same story.

So this is why we must stay vigilant and fight the corruption of our lawmakers as much as we can because its crap like this that you end up with otherwise. Those of you in the EU have a distinct advantage in that regard as at least you have multiple parties, here in the states we have the right wing and the Ayn Rand fan club, neither one of which is for anything but kissing the corporate booty.

Reply Score: 7

Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

And I'll add in what Microsoft did during the 80's through the early 2000s where they forced OEMs to ONLY install MS OSs on their machines. They are still shy about letting you buy a computer from the big companies with Linux or anything else on them. Microsoft is just as dirty as everyone else.

Reply Score: 3

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

I'm sorry but I have a REAL problem with this because it comes very close to saying "the government is allowed to set prices" which if your government is anything like we have in the states is a BAD idea.

I mean did you read the actual court papers? or did you just go by what others wrote? Because I read the court papers and while they should have gotten busted (I argue should have been broken up) over the "Windows isn't done until Lotus won't run" and the rigging of Windows to throw bogus errors when DR-DOS was detected the OEM deal should not have even been an issue and the reason why should be obvious...if I have a bucket of bolts and I sell them to you for $10 and Joe for $5 the government shouldn't be able to penalize me for that because ITS MY PRODUCT and I should be able to sell it to whomever I want for whatever price I want!

At the end of the day the OEM deals were VERY simple...if you agree to sell my product exclusively I cut you a discount....that's it, that is all the OEM deals ended up being. Note that this is completely different than Intel providing kickbacks(and according to Toshiba execs outright bribes) to OEMs that didn't buy AMD , and is no different than the deals companies like Gamestop get from publishers where they get exclusive DLC and money for marketing to push a release over the competition.

So while I agree MSFT should have been busted frankly the OEM deals were NOT the smoking gun, and companies that wanted to sell other systems could still buy all the Windows licenses they wanted, they just didn't get the discount the exclusive dealers got....I really don't see how anybody can argue that is unfair.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

bassbeast,

...the OEM deal should not have even been an issue and the reason why should be obvious...if I have a bucket of bolts and I sell them to you for $10 and Joe for $5 the government shouldn't be able to penalize me for that because ITS MY PRODUCT and I should be able to sell it to whomever I want for whatever price I want!


You may hold this opinion, but in microsoft's case the problem was that they were doing it as a monopoly against antitrust law. This places restrictions on what they can do that they'd otherwise be able to do. As a regular business entity, you can still sell your bucket of bolts to whoever you like for however much you think they'll pay. In a healthy market, if you don't charge a fair price, consumers will simply go elsewhere. Remember that antitrust law came about to break up the exclusive deals that made it impossible not to deal with the monopolies on whatever terms they set, regardless of harm caused to competitors. I think a historical backdrop is invaluable in understanding the issue. I know the following is a long quote, but it's important in understanding the two sides of this issue.


http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/publication/2008/04/2008...


Although few companies actually adopted the form of a "trust," the term rapidly became the catchword in public debate over the government's role in a time of such industrial concentration. Some saw increasing industrial concentration as natural and beneficial. Steel baron Andrew Carnegie said that "this overpowering irresistible tendency toward aggregation of capital and increase of size ... cannot be arrested." Even the progressive-minded journalist Lincoln Steffens remarked: "Trusts are natural, inevitable growths out of our social and economic conditions. ... You cannot stop them by force, with laws."

Others saw it differently. They believed that only legal reform could assure a modicum of free competition and a fair distribution of wealth and power among larger and smaller firms. As pressure for reform mounted, some states took legal action against trusts, as they became universally known. But efforts by progressives to break up trusts failed because, like Standard Oil at the time, they could simply move to less reform-minded states with more permissive commercial laws.

As it became clear that states could not or would not curtail the growth of trusts of all types, Congress held hearings on how it might address the issue. In 1888, Senator John Sherman of Ohio introduced his anti-trust bill and declared:

The popular mind is agitated with problems that may disturb social order, and among them all none is more threatening than ... the concentration of capital into vast combinations. ... Congress alone can deal with them and if we are unwilling or unable there will soon be a trust for every product and a master to fix the price for every necessity of life.
...

In particular, the two men from Ohio – Sherman and Rockefeller – disagreed sharply over the prospect and the wisdom of turning the tide of increasing industrial concentration. Rhetorically, they were both speaking in favor of "free competition." But free competition held different meanings for them. For Senator Sherman, it signified competition free from domination by private economic power. It meant that free markets require limits on monopolies, cartels, and similar economic restraints. Rockefeller believed in competition free from government regulation and called for an absolute freedom of contract.

Reply Score: 4

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

So in other words you are for a government deciding that successful companies get different rules than others? there was PLENTY of competition at the time, Apple had System 7 (and the cloners), you had BeOS, you had OS/2 being pushed by Big Blue...how much competition do you need?

As I have said in other posts the entire history of MSFT could be summed up in the sentence "and then the other guy did something REALLY dumb" but penalizing a company because the competition is stupid smells a little too much like the government deciding who wins and who loses and by how much. If you are gonna do that why not just go all the way and embrace a government controlled economy?

Lets break it down and see why MSFT "won" the battle...APPLE, fired the guy with vision and brought in a bunch of clueless CEOs, followed by putting out the most confusing lines ever in PCs with over a dozen models with no way to tell what was the high end and what was the low. Ironically you would often get better hardware on the low than on the high because even internally they didn't know WTF was going on!

BeOS...Ran by a man with great designs but ZERO busines sense he first tied the OS to the AT&T "Hobbit" CPU which turned out to be crazy expensive and underpowered, followed this by trying to go PPC only to find out Apple had a good 80%+ of the supply of chips bought and that Apple users weren't willing to pay $150 for an OS after shelling out a grand plus for a Mac. By the time he figured out X86 was the way to go the company was all but dead and with no money for marketing? Bled out.

OS/2...here is the one that would have won IF it would have been run by ANYBODY but IBM. When OS/2 V2 was released Windows was a buggy crashy mess but after trying to slaughter the OEMs not once but twice, first by trying to switch the industry from ISA to MCA which they would have charged an insane amount of royalty for while letting their machines have it free (and in doing so gave birth to the gang of nine OEM team that gave us EISA and PCI) and then by trying to charge $200!!! for OS/2 at the time that MSFT was selling Windows 3.1 to OEMs for $15? Needless to say OS/2 was looked upon as plague blankets by the OEMs. Its a shame as it really was better than Win 3.x and Win95 by a pretty good amount.

So I'm sorry but MSFT HAD competition, the competition was simply bad at selling their products. the problem I have with antitrust in its current incarnation is that its completely arbitrary and random, for example why wasn't Intel busted for doing the EXACT SAME THINGS when it bought off the OEMs to push the Pentium 4? Or rigged their compiler just as MSFT rigged their OS? Why isn't Apple getting busted now for the dirty dealing they have done for iTunes? They own more than 90% of the PMP market ya know.

THIS is why I have problems with antitrust, it comes down NOT to making sure you have a fair market but which person gives the most money to the right party. Notice MSFT hasn't had a bit of trouble since, even though very little changed? they learned their lesson and paid their tithe to the party, that's all.

And sorry about the length, complex subjects just can't fit into soundbytes and we are talking about a seriously complex subject here.

Reply Score: 3

Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

It's not "Government Price Fixing" It's it's leveling the playing field. The fact that MacOS, BeOS, OS/2, AmigaOS etc existed at the time is a strawman at best because due to Microsoft's absolute domination of the market the whole lot of them couldn't even hope to constitute even 10% of the market.

We agree on one thing at least, Microsoft should have been busted up into it's constituent money makers. However their exclusivity contracts should have also been invalidated for 2-5 years to allow the competition to have a chance to gain a foothold as then the entire market would have been better for it.

I would expect nothing less to be applied to any of their competitors if they would have grown to a monopoly as well.

The end result of it ass is a stronger economy by having more options, with these option all requiring the hiring of more developers. With companies looking to port their software to multiple OSs it would require them to hire more devs as well and it would improve the quality of their work as they would want to have a single codebase across all platforms, this would have prevented allot of the problems we saw with Windows software taking advantage of bugs in Windows that where later broken with OS patches or new releases, because you can't use those if you want one codebase to run across several OSs.

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

bassbeast,

So in other words you are for a government deciding that successful companies get different rules than others?


No, there are many successful businesses who are not monopolies, clearly. Monopolies have enormous spheres of influence, and obviously they can use that to their advantage even at the expense of competition and society at large if we don't have rules in place to stop that bad behavior. As with all rights, they must be balanced with the rights of others. History has proven time and time again (from classic examples like Carnegie, who negotiated the rail prices for competitors, to modern examples like Microsoft) that unregulated monopoly power results in entities abusing their market position to actively interfere with competition rather than competing on merit.

I feel it's insincere and hypocritical for large corporate monopolies to declare the importance of free market from government while simultaneously taking steps to interfere with their competitor's ability to benefit from a free market. Based on their actions, what they actually want is a free market for themselves and a controlled market for competitors.


So I'm sorry but MSFT HAD competition, the competition was simply bad at selling their products.



You still have to concede that MS used it's market power to negotiate OEM contracts that were terribly abusive for competition. How could you compete with MS when all the successful manufacturers you'd like to sell your OS through were forced to pay windows license fees on top of your OS prices? You could make your OS absolutely free, but you'd be making money for microsoft and not yourself.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundling_of_Microsoft_Windows

http://www.unc.edu/~gbiglais/510/Microsoft%20Sec%201.ppt
(Isn't the use of powerpoint ironic here? ;) )


the problem I have with antitrust in its current incarnation is that its completely arbitrary and random, for example why wasn't Intel busted for doing the EXACT SAME THINGS when it bought off the OEMs to push the Pentium 4? Or rigged their compiler just as MSFT rigged their OS? Why isn't Apple getting busted now for the dirty dealing they have done for iTunes? They own more than 90% of the PMP market ya know.

THIS is why I have problems with antitrust, it comes down NOT to making sure you have a fair market but which person gives the most money to the right party.


I agree, antitrust in it's current incarnation isn't very effective against the abuses it combats. However 1) it's still better than not having antitrust at all, and 2) corporate power over modern government is such that I do foresee much improvement in antitrust law.


Notice MSFT hasn't had a bit of trouble since, even though very little changed? they learned their lesson and paid their tithe to the party, that's all.



Well, at least now many of their past practices are disallowed, however it will still take a very long time for competition to recover. Even if the playing field could be completely fair, and the backroom negotiations were completely balanced (which they never will be), market entrants today face a tremendous uphill battle due to scales of economy and lack of brand awareness. I'm not necessarily suggesting government take action to fix this, but I am suggesting this is the reason we should not expect any sudden changes. According to this market trend data, the market is changing, but the recovery is going to take a very long time, unfortunately.

http://netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=...

Edited 2014-03-29 15:46 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

THIS is why I have problems with antitrust


Anti-trust regulations are needed because there are too few true capitalists and way, way too many greedy sociopaths.

it comes down NOT to making sure you have a fair market


Actually, that is exactly what is is about. If it is always successful and fair is a different matter.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

here in the states we have the right wing and the Ayn Rand fan club


I laughed so hard at this.

Reply Score: 3

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Just a set of agreements/contracts.


Contract law does not allow contracts to make an illegal act legal. A contract term is non-binding if it is illegal. Contracts aren't magical get-out-of-jail paperwork.

Reply Score: 6

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Because its a form of price fixing? If you are for price fixing them I'm sure you see no problem with recent actions like the makers of RAM and SSD memory chips conspiring to keep prices high in those areas, yes? After all its just companies getting together and making agreements not to poach each others sales.

Reply Score: 6

Comment by dennisma
by dennisma on Wed 26th Mar 2014 15:52 UTC
dennisma
Member since:
2013-12-05

"Do no fucking evil".

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by dennisma
by moondevil on Wed 26th Mar 2014 17:01 UTC in reply to "Comment by dennisma"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes, it is about time geeks understand all corporations are alike, there are no good and bad guys.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by dennisma
by shmerl on Thu 27th Mar 2014 14:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by dennisma"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Schmidt never agreed to that. It was Brin's motto.

Reply Score: 2

Widespread problem.
by Alfman on Wed 26th Mar 2014 16:48 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Another earlier article gives a better idea of just how widespread the practice was/is:

http://pando.com/2014/03/22/revealed-apple-and-googles-wage-fixing-...

The list keeps going and going and going... Just think, if it weren't for having email archives, then none of these exchanges would have surfaced today.

Schmidt:

I would prefer that Omid do it verbally since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later? Not sure about this.. thanks Eric


They realized the risks of communicating this policy to partners via email, but they apparently didn't figure that their internal emails would face a Subpoena. I wonder how many illegal corporate activities do go uncovered because they played it smart and didn't leave a trail...

Edited 2014-03-26 16:51 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE: Widespread problem.
by moondevil on Wed 26th Mar 2014 17:00 UTC in reply to "Widespread problem."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I wonder how many illegal corporate activities do go uncovered because they played it smart and didn't leave a trail...


On the Fortune 500 world. Lots of them.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Widespread problem.
by kwan_e on Wed 26th Mar 2014 17:07 UTC in reply to "Widespread problem."
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I wonder how many illegal corporate activities do go uncovered because they played it smart and didn't leave a trail...


They don't even have to do that. Just do business in a poor country, especially a dictatorship.

Reply Score: 3

Surprised?
by hackus on Wed 26th Mar 2014 19:03 UTC
hackus
Member since:
2006-06-28

Look at the news lately?

Why is this evening news or surprising?

There are simply no ethics at all any more, whether it be Academics (which I have my direct own experience with scumbags), Industry as is pointed out here.

Finally, what I call the secret CABAL, which is really no secret: Bankers basically run Western civilization and are driving it into the ground.

The future is a very very bleak one my friend.

Be prepared: Don't go to work everyday and come home and plop yourself in front of the T.V.

It is a very bad time in history to be unaware of what this CABAL is doing.

Very bad time in history, I just hope to hell some semblence of humanity is left when it is all said and done.

Reply Score: 1

It is absolutely wrong and illegal
by Sabon on Wed 26th Mar 2014 21:38 UTC
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

First it is absolutely wrong and illegal and should be illegal.

1) The employer's side. I paid person X to learn what I want and to help me create it. They shouldn't be able to take that knowledge and go somewhere else and help someone recreate what I created from scratch (or "borrowed" bit and pieces of to create my new product). Therefore competing companies shouldn't be able to hire my worker.

If this is true then that should have been part of the contract that was worked out between the employer and the employee ahead of time and with them both having to sign it. It shouldn't be a hidden agreement between companies.

Yes they paid them to help them create a product. No, company B should not be able to create a competing product that mimics the look and feel of the product to such a degree that people would get confused as to whether product X was from company A or company B or C, D, E or F. But that shouldn't limit the employee from going to work at company B or whatever and create a competing product that doesn't look like the product from company A to such a degree that people can't tell if it is from the same company or not (Samsung, cough, cough).

2) The employee's side. Employees shouldn't be restricted from being able to work wherever they want to as long as the company they want to work at finds their skills and knowledge to their advantage.

For employees that are in a position of holding secrets, it is up to their employer to create a document with a "no competition" clause in it which both the employee and employer (or their personal department) has to both sign. It is then up to the employee or prospective employee to decide whether they want to agree to the contract or not. They can counter the agreement and see if the employer will agree to it or not. If not and nothing can be worked out, then the person does not get employed or does not get the promotion because they refuse to sign it.

All of that is legal. As long as they aren't strong armed against their will to sign it. This has nothing to do with the potential employee feeling they have no place else to go because their skills and knowledge can only be used at one company. That is not the companies problem but the prospective employee's. It is that person's responsibility to make sure they learn skills and knowledge that can be applied to multiple companies and with the hope they can get top dollar by getting companies to fight for them. If they refuse to put out the energy to do that, then that is their fault.

But again, that is totally different than two companies making a back door agreement not to hire each other's employees. That is immoral and illegal. And I don't feel there should be a rich person's prison that is different than a poor person's prison. Prison should be prison and if you don't want to go there, don't do bad things. Don't be evil. Don't be illegal.

Reply Score: 2

jrockey Member since:
2012-11-06

It's worth bearing in mind that their agreement wasn't to ban the hiring of each other's employees. It was to refrain from actively poaching each other's employees.

It's surely a fairly important distinction? There was nothing to prevent a Google employee from applying for a job at Apple, or vice versa.

I agree the "shivers down my spine" stuff is rather histrionic.

Reply Score: 1

Willy wonka
by stabbyjones on Wed 26th Mar 2014 23:55 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

Please tell me how every CEO in the world cares about low level employees.

Reply Score: 3

the worst is...
by SeeM on Thu 27th Mar 2014 07:26 UTC
SeeM
Member since:
2011-09-10

As the fans of Google and Apple were (are?) fighting to the death and we have something that looks like competition (thermonuclear and such), Eric and Steeve were the best pals.

I bet they had a great time reading tech blogs about phone wars:
"Steeve, how could you win a poll for the best phone in 2010?""
"Well, I'm really sorry Eric. But it was on cultofmac, you know what sort of people is visiting it."
"Oh, yeah... terrible. And did you heard that Android has faster growth that iOS?"
"Oh, lovely. I'm happy to hear that."

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 27th Mar 2014 14:25 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

Scumbags indeed. Simply disgusting.

Reply Score: 3

That's so insanely cool!
by Vinegar Joe on Thu 27th Mar 2014 21:07 UTC
Vinegar Joe
Member since:
2006-08-16

Now we know why he wore a black turtleneck!

Reply Score: 3

I have "do not..." lists of my own
by Quietleaf on Fri 28th Mar 2014 04:00 UTC
Quietleaf
Member since:
2005-11-11

So Apple was on Google's "do-not-call" list and vice versa; well, I can play that game too.

Apple has joined my do-not-buy list, and Google has joined my do-not-use list. They'll find that they enjoy some company on those lists, and once on them it's nearly impossible to get off of them. I have a very long memory and I don't forgive easily.

Edited 2014-03-28 04:01 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Really?
by robertojdohnert on Sun 30th Mar 2014 05:17 UTC
robertojdohnert
Member since:
2005-07-12

Does this surprise people knowing how brutal Steve Jobs was and knowing how big an a$%&#hole Eric Schmidt is. Is it illegal? yes. Should it be stopped? Of course but that also goes to the state of California to help stop it
--------
Roberto J. Dohnert
Lead Developer
Black Lab Linux
http://www.blacklablinux.org

Reply Score: 1