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Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly made a possibly illegal proposal to Palm in 2007 that the companies stop hiring each other's employees. Palm reportedly refused.  (Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
Palm's leader says that the deal is "wrong" and "probably illegal"

When it comes to hardware, Apple only has one legitimate competitor in the smart phone market -- Palm.  Palm's Pre is the only smartphone besides the iPhone to support multi-touch, and its also the only other smartphone to be able to be able to easily sync with iTunes.  Both of these assets reportedly came thanks in part to the inside knowledge former Apple engineers brought to Palm.

Apple, which has poached employees employees from Palm in the past (including during the development of the various iPods and iPhone), nonetheless, was not to happy about the launch of the Pre.  It tried to block the phone out of iTunes only to see Palm outmaneuver it again and let the Pre back in

Back in 2007, Apple's Chief Executive Office, Steve Jobs, reached out to former Palm CEO Ed Colligan and proposed a moratorium on the two companies stealing each other's employees.  Mr. Colligan reportedly rejected Mr. Job's proposal, saying that it was not only wrong, but "probably illegal". 

Palm's smartphone team is headed by Jon Rubinstein, a former Apple veteran who had headed the company's pivotal iPod unit.  Mr. Rubenstein was promoted to Palm's CEO in June, succeeding Mr. Colligan.

Steve Jobs would not comment on whether he proposed a secret arrangement with Palm.  He would only say that Apple has more patents and money than Palm if the companies go to war legally.  He perhaps was referring to Apple's patent on multi-touch technology, which it has threatened to sue Palm and others with in the past.

If Mr. Jobs did propose such an arrangement, it appears it would likely be illegal.  According to Donald Russell, an antitrust lawyer who worked at the Justice Department for more than two decades before going into private practice in Washington, "It's a form of competition that is usually protected by antitrust laws that prohibit agreements that restrict competition."

Apple and Palm, according to a Reuters source, are under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for collusion in hiring.  Neither company would acknowledge that they were being investigated, though.

If Apple did reach out to Palm for such an arrangement, it would also have been a rather ironic move as Apple itself has poached employees from many other tech giants over the years.  Most recently, Apple hired IBM's Mark Papermaster to replace the departing Tony Faddell as iPod team leader.  IBM fought the move, saying Mr. Papermaster violated the terms of his contract.  Apple and IBM have since reached a settlement, allowing Mr. Papermaster to go to work at Apple.



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RE: apple
By KingstonU on 8/20/2009 9:55:15 AM , Rating: 5
I won't buy an apple product, but I do appreciate those that due, because Apple pushes the companies that I will buy from to improve and become more innovative and offer me better products. : P Products that don't have Apple stranglehold of control they keep on what their customers can and can't do.


RE: apple
By rtrski on 8/20/2009 10:04:50 AM , Rating: 5
Ditto. While I wouldn't buy one of their products, they really do have some pretty nice UI and sleek product design, and like it or not they've pushed others to follow by paying attention to some of those things. My wife certainly loves her iPod - it does what she wants, although on occasion iTunes does not nearly "just work" and I have to intervene. (Why does it default to wanting to install Safari, Bonjour, etc. that are unnecessary for her older device? Never mind....)

The Apple Sheeple kind of amuse me with their smugness. (My brother was recently ranting and raving about how wonderful it was that he bought a MacBook Pro, took it home, and it "just worked" with his wireless router without him having to fiddle around like he had with his Vista laptop. After "mm hmming" a few times I asked what it cost him, and he quoted a price that was high enough I could have bought an equivalent spec-ed HP laptop with XP (at the time), flew cross-country with it, set it up on his network for him, and flown back, and had about $200 left for my trouble. I had to bite my tongue in the months following when he had all sorts of trouble setting up his dual-boot so he could still run AutoCAD and whatnot that he needed for work.) But the haters are just as off-the-reservation in the other direction.

Competition is good. I'll still opt for a bit cheaper and less guarantees of "just working" but having more freedom to wander outside the walled, moated, and protected-by-ravenous-lawyers sandcastle.


RE: apple
By chrnochime on 8/20/2009 10:45:49 AM , Rating: 5
Any Wireless connection on XP/Vista/7 would "just work" if there's no encryption/password at all to fiddle with.

I'd like to see the "just work" if the user is the problem though...

On a side note, I guess we should be somewhat glad that Anandtech is not like the various Apple worship sites, cough*Gizmodo*cough , where the mod would ban you for saying anything that resembles negative comments toward Apple....


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