Palm's Colligan rebuffs Steve Jobs' 'likely illegal' plea to stop hiring from Apple

Imagine the scene two years ago, August 2007 to be precise. Palm was busy preparing to launch its Foleo and the OS that would save Palm was still expected to be coming from ACCESS. In fact, things were looking so bad for Palm in August that we penned an intervention letter that then CEO Ed Colligan responded to. Apple, for its part, was still enjoying the glow of the golden halo rising above its iPhone launched just over a month prior with the help of 2% of Palm's hired workforce, according to Bloomberg. Oh, and Apple had just lost Jon Rubinstein, the man leading its iPod division, to Palm.

Now Bloomberg is reporting that Steve Jobs approached Palm's Ed Colligan in August 2007 with a proposal to refrain from hiring each other's staff (read: quit poaching our employees, Ed!). Colligan refused, saying,

Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal.


Bloomberg did not see the actual proposal communication from Jobs but do quote him as saying, "We must do whatever we can to stop this." Jobs also said that Apple had patents and more money if Palm was considering a legal fight. The communications were apparently given to Bloomberg by somebody within Palm in a move that seems to be posturing Palm Inc. into an advantageous position as the US Department of Justice reportedly investigates a collusion of hiring practices between Apple, Google, and other technology companies. In other words, Pre owners shouldn't expect to see device support return to iTunes anytime soon with this cat-fight ready to explode.