I Don't Think It's Motorola's Trade Secrets That Have Made The iPhone A Success

from the let's-be-honest-here dept

Late Friday, the news broke that Motorola was suing a former sales executive who had left Motorola and joined Apple in April. Motorola is claiming that he was sharing Motorola's trade secrets with Apple. Of course, given the directions both companies seem to be heading in with their mobile phone devices, one might think that the only "secrets" he might have shared from Motorola were about what not to do. In fact, it seems like a lot of Apple's success with the iPhone has been in ignoring many of the old rules.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 5:08am

    it seems like a lot of Apple's success with the iPhone has been in ignoring many of the old rules

    Well it's obvious what happened. Apple hired the guy, listened to his secrets, and then did the exact opposite.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 5:13am

    Trade Secrets

    Trade secrets can mean many things. Granted the guy was a sales executive, but he could of had access to some things he strictly did not need to know.

    From my perspective it seems more likely that Motorrola's "trade secrets" involve the technology aspect of a lot of things.

    Possibly that is another reason for Apple to be strict about 3rd party Apps on the phone. It could be found several of those apps or their components would work on Motorolla hardware without modification.

    But who cares at this point what any corporation/government/person with money and lackeys does. So many people are just flat out apathetic its, well, pathetic.

    Hundreds of years of running from the Dark Ages, and they've willingly become the ignorant peasants.

     

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  3.  
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    Michael H, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 5:46am

    Noncom

    Usually big corporations have a non-competition contract that you sign when they hire you stating that if you leave the company you can't join a competitor for a set period of time; indeed the article says "Fenger's employment by Apple violates his written promise not to work for a competitor for at least two years after leaving Motorola".

    Sharing trade secrets? Probably not. But if you sign a legally binding contract and then do the opposite, yes, you will get sued and you will lose.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 5:57am

    Re: Noncom

    > But if you sign a legally binding contract and then
    > do the opposite, yes, you will get sued and
    > you will lose.

    Depends upon your jurisdiction. Non-competes are not
    supportable in California. Sure, they are in
    every contract you'll sign, but they are unenforceable
    and every party who's been around the block more than
    once knows that.

    It's a shame that non-competes are enforceable anywhere.

     

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  5.  
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    wasnt me, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 6:01am

    well unfortunately it really doesn't matter what happened, what does matter is what can be proven.

    on a side note if what Motorola is saying is true then shouldn't they be suing said employee? and as far as i know they can only do that if they made him sign a confidentiality agreement.

     

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  6.  
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    wasnt me, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 6:04am

    oops i re-read the article and yes they are suing the employee not Apple.

     

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  7.  
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    Haywood, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 6:23am

    Re: Noncom

    "you will get sued and you will lose."

    Not necessarily, in many cases the decision comes down, that you are entitled to make a living. The noncomp agreement is vied like a EULA; it is signed under duress as the only way to get the job in the first place. Depends where it is filed & signed, of course, attitudes and laws vary greatly from state to state.

     

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  8.  
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    David, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 6:33am

    Re: non-Competes

    Most of the time non-competes that are enforceable are about bringing clients from your old employer to the new one... That would be hard to prove in this case...

     

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  9.  
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    comboman, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 7:13am

    trade secrets not what you think

    Trade secrets that a sales exec would know about are not likely to be technical in nature. It's probably things like what suppliers and retailers Motorola has contracts with and what's in those contracts. Even if a sales exec knew technical details about Motorola's next gen products, he wouldn't understand them well enough to be useful to anyone at Apple.

     

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  10.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 21st, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Motorola May Be Right

    My limited understanding of the case is that *when the Exec left Moto*, he then signed a non-compete. That is different than signing one when one accepts a job. Part of his parting non-compete deal was a payoff of millions of dollars. His deal prohibited him from working for any competitor for two years.

    He is also accused of poaching two other Motorola staff over to Apple.

    Motorola is suing him for agreeing to a golden parachute, then reneging on his obligations weeks later. If those are the facts in this case, I'm with Motorola on this one, whether they can win in California court or not.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 8:17am

    "....given the directions both companies seem to be heading in with their mobile phone devices, one might think that the only "secrets" he might have shared from Motorola..."

    Not very logical since if the employee stole the secrets then Apple would have them and not Motorola, and if you had read the original article you would have seen that "...vice president for the company's mobile- device business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.." and is now "...Apple's vice president for global iPhone sales..." clearly some serious and not very replacable expertise moved from Moto to Apple, and clealry Apple needed telecom expertise to break into telecom (if you think that was easy you havn't understood the problem).

     

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  12.  
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    Another Coward, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    You're right Coward. All these punk kids ever think of is rushing to say, "Oooohhh....a big company stifling innovation" or "He didn't steal anything...Motorola technology sucks"....type comments.

    How the @#$% would any of you dumba$$es know if a trade secret were stolen or not? "Trade secrets that a sales exec would know about are not likely to be techincal in nature"???? How the HELL would you know that? Because he's in a Sales Dept? Go back to your gaming console and power drinks kiddies.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 9:54am

    Re: Noncom

    Some of these non-compete agreements are nonsense. How do you expect this engineer to get a job after two years of not working in the field? Besides, isn't Motorola looking to sell their phone business anyway? And what of them giving the guy stock options? The way Motorola management ran the company into the ground, I don't think his options are worth anything anyway.

    Besides, as many here suggest, if these secrets were worth anything Motorola wouldn't be in the shape they are in. I think It's simply that the engineer doesn't want to waste his talent in a company which is on the verge of letting their phone division go anyway.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 9:55am

    Somebod is a sales person ^^^

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Cowherd, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 10:00am

    Punk kids

    You know what? "All these punk kids" are right, and moreover, in another twenty years "all these punk kids" are senators and congressmen and CEOs and other people involved in running the show.

    Just like the ones doing so now were "punk kids" back in the sixties. Some of them did drugs then, and now some of those have legalized pot for some medical uses.

    Now we've already got talk of giving some archiving organizations copyright exemption. How long before the "punk kids" are stripping it drastically or abolishing it, noncompetes are unenforceable in many more states than they already are, and other drastic changes have produced freer and more fluid markets?

     

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  16.  
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    Me again, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Punk kids

    We're all 4ucked then aren't we.....

     

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  17.  
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    دردشه, Jul 5th, 2009 @ 11:47am

    Somebod is a sales person

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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