Just in case Walter Isaacson’s biography (or that awful Ashton Kutcher movie) didn’t dig up enough unsavory details for your liking, new documents show that Steve Jobs wasn’t just the kind of boss who would try to get another company’s employee fired–he would react to news of the firing with cheerful emoticons.
According to a cache of emails released by Pando Daily, Jobs contacted Google chairman Eric Schmidt in 2007 about a former Apple employee, who was hired by Google in violation of anon-compete agreement between the tech giants, in which they agreed not to poach each other’s employees. When Jobs reached out, Schmidt said that the recruiter who contacted the employee would be fired “within the hour.” Jobs’s response? ‘:)’
The agreement, which includes not just Google and Apple but five other tech companies including Intel and Adobe, is the subject of a current class action lawsuit. As the Independentreported, prosecutors are alleging that the non-compete contract suppressed wages and allowed each company to dominate their sector of the market.
After informing Jobs that the recruiter would be fired, Schmidt quickly added that “should this ever happen again please let me know immediately and we will handle.” Jobs then followed up with what’s shaping up to be the smiley seen ’round the world.
Meanwhile, court documents show that Google and Apple’s wage-fixing agreements date back to 2005; Daily Mail reported that a 2011 lawsuit found five software engineers suing them and other tech companies over an alleged conspiracy to keep pay down by not recruiting each other’s employees. In another email Jobs threatened Google’s Sergey Brin: “If you hire a single one of these people […] that means war.”
Last Friday, a request from Apple, Google, and two other tech companies to avoid the lawsuit was rejected by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who wrote, “That the agreements were entered into and enforced by a small group of intertwining high level executives bolsters the inference that the agreements were not independent.”
The trial is set to begin in May.