In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and senior advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”
Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?”
This is why I always smile whenever I hear a pundit claim his or her pet company “does no evil” or has “moral standards“. Companies are guided by one thing, and one thing alone: money. They have no morals. They have no moral compass. We see evidence of this every single day – whether it’s poor working conditions in low-wage countries, scummy tax evasion techniques, or stuff like this, which is essentially robbing hard-working people of their money.
It’s important to note, though, that the way companies work in our society has also been a major factor in the development of our wealth, luxury, and scientific progress; so no, it’s not all bad. However, I do wish companies would stop spouting the obvious nonsense that they “do no evil” or have “moral standards”, when it’s clear to everyone with more than two brain cells to rub together that that’s just a bunch of marketing bullshit. I really feel for the people that actually believe that nonsense.
Of course, the criminals responsible for the illegal behaviour described in the article should be put behind bars. Sadly, that won’t happen.