Apple and Google fought over talent poaching and acquisition in 2005

Jeremiah Yap – Fourth Estate Cooperative Writer

San Francisco, CA, United States (4E) – Before the documented war between Android and iOS, Google and Apple were battling over the best tech talent in Silicon Valley. According to tech blog Pando, Google co-founder Sergey Brin sent emails in 2005 that revealed the nature of competition for top talents between the two tech companies.

In Brin’s email, Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs warned Google about poaching Apple employees. Specifically, Jobs wasn’t happy about Google trying to hire one of Apple’s Safari engineers to work on the Chrome browser.

“So I got another irate call from jobs today. I don’t think we should let that determine our hiring strategy but thought I would let you know. Basically, he said ‘if you hire a single one of these people that means war,’” Brin wrote in an email to his talent acquisition team.

After the incident, Google and Apple agreed on a “hands-off” policy. Both companies weren’t allowed to lure and offer higher salaries to other’s employees. Apple also released a memo to its recruitment team to keep from luring away Google employees.

“Please add Google to your ‘hands-off’ list. We recently agreed not to recruit from one another so if you hear any recruiting they are doing against us, please be sure to let me know.”

Google and Apple settled the issue in 2010, but civil class action litigation is still ongoing. Google would later on release the Android OS, which also caught the ire of Jobs and Apple.

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