National Semiconductor Takes Back Gift iPods

from the not-such-a-gracious-gift-giver dept

We’ve heard of plenty of companies giving out iPods as gifts to employees recently. It’s a nice enough gift — but apparently the gift giving only goes so far at National Semiconductor. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous sent in the news that Nat Semi decided its “gifts” were actually loaners. Yes, that’s right, when they laid off a bunch of people, the company demanded the iPods back. This, despite the fact that the company claimed it gave the devices out to employees as a reward for its “best fiscal year” — and even the press described the iPods as gifts. Some of the laid off employees claim they sold their iPods or gave them to others as gifts. Perhaps they need to go back to those they gave the iPods to and explain that it, too, was only a temporary gift.


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Comments on “National Semiconductor Takes Back Gift iPods”

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56 Comments
This is a basic Judge Judy.... says:

Common, how many times have we watched judge judy and said ‘She’s gonna call this one a gift because there is no payment made for it nor do they have any doccument saying it was a loan…”

I think this is cut and dry, I’d love to see them take legal action just so they crash and burn…

Big Companys waste money all the time, I was with one electronic firm that threw out older PC’s and TV’s after physically smashing them with a hammer because it cost them to much more if they were given away rather then taken off the books as obsolete/scrap… (the hammering was so no-one took them out of the dumpster they were thrown into) Now this was the same company who’s own employees were Usinging Pent 2 333’s while they were throwing out Pent 3 1GHtz+… insanity (While I worked there I actually converted a few digital recording units with 4 harddrives into workable machiens for the staff…. idiots… my supervisors were like ‘wow you can do that?’)

Rob says:

Re: Literacy?

did you even graduate from primary school?

“companies” rather than “companys”. “too” rather than “to”. “no one” rather than “no-one”. “cut and dried” rather than “cut and dry”. “document” rather than “doccument”. “whose” rather than “who’s”. “using” rather than “usinging”. “machines” rather than “machiens”.

ed says:

Re: Three letters

The reason for this kind of decision: three letters – IRS

The Tax code has created tons of screwy situations. Have you noticed how hard it is to get out-of-print books now when it used to be easy (publishers used to hold stock, now they have to destroy it or they can’t deduct it).

Junyo (user link) says:

Okay, what’s the gain in asking for them back? You get back a bunch of used iPods; what’re you gonna do with ’em? Put them on eBay? Regift new hires? Pay to warehouse or crush them? Almost anything you do will have bigger cost implications than just eating the gift this time, or adding the price onto the employee’s final check as pay. And next time, just give out pens/cash.

Comboman says:

Keep the iPods

NatSemi doesn’t have a leg to stand on with this one. I’ve seen people argue (successfully) that they should keep “their” laptop the company “gave” them after they were laid off. Personally I don’t agree with that, since the laptop is obviously company property assigned to an employee for work purposes, but the the iPod “gift” is not really in the same category at all. At the very least, there was an expectation that this was a gift and I think most courts would agree if NatSemi pushed the issue that far.

lar3ry says:

Re: Keep the iPods

Actually, my company stamps each laptop with a tag that says “Leased.” There’s no doubt whatsoever that the laptop is not a gift, and I doubt that even in the event the laptops had no tag there would be no difficulty in the company recovering them.

The iPods, on the other hand, were distributed as gifts. I think it’s pretty slimy to do such things, especially to departing employees.

Too Bad says:

Reasonable Doubt

I found N.S.s press release about the iPods nowhere in the article does it say they are gifts. It does make several references to how good the company is doing which usually means hookin’ a brutha up. I’m thinking the article was structured that way to setup plausible deniability or has been revised recently. 😉

http://www.national.com/news/item/0,1735,1172,00.html

Michael says:

Re: Reasonable Doubt

i agree – the press release doesn’t say that the iPods were a gift. of course, individual managers may have left a very different impression as they handed the iPods to their employees.

whatever the company’s intention, it’s both bad form and needless bad publicity to demand that laid off employees return the iPods mere weeks after crowing about a record fiscal year.and we are talking about only 35 employees, or approx $10,500 worth of iPods.

if the company had any sense, it would call a press conference, apologize for any misunderstanding, make it clear that the laid off employees do NOT have to return the iPods (because of the misunderstanding), and set a clear policy for the future for remaining employees. (as a rule for the future, it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever for laid off employees to keep their iPods, while resigning employees have to return theirs.)

(plus you know the net cost of the iPods to the company wasn’t $300 – heck, the iPods use the company’s analog chips!)

WhooTAZ says:

IPods

I guess National Semicondutor wanted to retain their Assets ratio, that all important ROI that every wetback scumball Suit so desires even to the pit of HELL.

Damn, National Semicondutor must of gotten screwed by Apple for the IPODS. They probably paid 50 times the going street rate for them to be an Indian Giver in the end….

Mike Mixer says:

Scoundrels

Here’s a gift, Yours for a limited time only, It’s a good

long look straight into the eyes of evil. You can’t find it in stores .You can only get it through our offer here. What’s the deal you say,Here it is, You give us

your blood, sweat, and tears for several years. Then accept a token of our gratitude for all the money we made on your backs. Hold on, We’re not through yet.

After all that ,You get fired and have to give us back

our token of gratitude. That’s your deal. One to a customer please. No discounts and no dealers .

Anon (profile) says:

Whatever!!!

I work for National. In our internal documents at National, we were informed that the company would be using the ipods for training and other company information. We had to sign a release that we would keep information on our ipods confidential. You don’t sign a release for gifts! The idiots that sold their ipods are just greedy especially since we’ve only had them for two weeks! The ipods are meant for corporate training and can also be used for personal use.

And by the way, we have not had any layoffs. They must have been fired! (probably for stealing!) We are in the process of adding hundreds of people.

FAYE says:

Re: Whatever!!!

I WORK AT THE ARLINGTON SITE AND I DON’T REMEMBER NO CONFIDENTIAL NOTHING WRITTEN…AND THOSE IDIOTS YOU MENTIONED I KNOW THEM AND THEY HAD GOOD REASONS FOR SELLING THEM, AND YOU CARE Y…THEY SAID THEY WERE FOR TRAINING TO THE MEDIA, NOT TO US…NO ONE IS GOING TO USE IT FOR THAT,NOBODY…YES THERE WAS A VOLUNTEER LAYOFF…THESE PEOPLE WANTED TO GET THE HELL OUT, WHICH I DON’T BLAME THEM, NOBODY DOES…THE ONLY GOOD THING NATIONAL DID FOR THEM WAS LET THEM HAVE TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO THEIR FRIENDS AND EVERYBODY APPRECIATED THAT…I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU ARE LYING ABOUT THE HUNDRED PEOPLE,, SO BASICALLY THEY LAID OFF 35 TO HIRE HUNDREDS, MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE ELSE….ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY’RE TAKING TOOLS OUT…WHAT ARE THESE HUNDREDS GOING TO RUN..THEY ARE SLOWLY MAKING IT INTO MAINE.WHERE THE TOOLS QUAL THEMSELVES AND THERE ARE WHAT 10 PEOPLE PER SHIFT…YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT…..YOU’RE PROBABLY UPSTAIRS WITH THE HEADS, SO I CAN SEE WHY YOU’RE SAYING SUCH B.S…

FAYE says:

Re: Whatever!!!

I WORK AT THE ARLINGTON SITE AND I DON’T REMEMBER NO CONFIDENTIAL NOTHING WRITTEN…AND THOSE IDIOTS YOU MENTIONED I KNOW THEM AND THEY HAD GOOD REASONS FOR SELLING THEM, AND YOU CARE Y…THEY SAID THEY WERE FOR TRAINING TO THE MEDIA, NOT TO US…NO ONE IS GOING TO USE IT FOR THAT,NOBODY…YES THERE WAS A VOLUNTEER LAYOFF…THESE PEOPLE WANTED TO GET THE HELL OUT, WHICH I DON’T BLAME THEM, NOBODY DOES…THE ONLY GOOD THING NATIONAL DID FOR THEM WAS LET THEM HAVE TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO THEIR FRIENDS AND EVERYBODY APPRECIATED THAT…I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU ARE LYING ABOUT THE HUNDRED PEOPLE,, SO BASICALLY THEY LAID OFF 35 TO HIRE HUNDREDS, MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE ELSE….ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY’RE TAKING TOOLS OUT…WHAT ARE THESE HUNDREDS GOING TO RUN..THEY ARE SLOWLY MAKING IT INTO MAINE.WHERE THE TOOLS QUAL THEMSELVES AND THERE ARE WHAT 10 PEOPLE PER SHIFT…YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT…..YOU’RE PROBABLY UPSTAIRS WITH THE HEADS, SO I CAN SEE WHY YOU’RE SAYING SUCH B.S…

Jay (user link) says:

Pity the fired employees :p

Read the press release.

While designed for personal entertainment, the popular Apple MP3 player will be used as a new training and communications tool at National, providing a convenient real-time method for employees to download National podcasts and other employee communications.

Yeah, that’s definitely a “gift” not something the company provides to employees as a tool. If you are a framer, and you get fired, or quit, try taking your bosses tools that he “gave” you while you were working for him. See how that works out.

Sanguine Dream says:

???

How does one use an iPod for training? Instructional mp3s? And why allow them personal use of company property? Even with a release form to agree to confidentiality there is still the risk of the data on it being lost or stolen. i find it hard to believe that this company paid the usual $300 for those iPods. I’m sure they got some kind of deal from Apple for buying so many at once. Kinda like the time I rented VHS from Blockbuster and held it past the deadline by about 3 weeks and they wanted me to either turn it in or pay $70.

SailorAlphaCentauri says:

Wow...

who snuffed out the fires of hell? Because it sure is cold in here.

If the iPods were gifts to their employees, then that is some dirty dealing to want them back. If, however, they are instructional tools for the workplace, there will be documents that every employee had to sign which would prove the company’s case. If those documents do not exist, it seems phony that the iPods were not gifts and the company looks callous as well as cold.

Anyway out, you would think there would be other ways for people to get their training from…oh, I don’t know…the computers they have to hook up the iPods to in order to get the information in the first place!

smellygirl says:

Re: Wow...

“If, however, they are instructional tools for the workplace, there will be documents that every employee had to sign which would prove the company’s case.”

That is not true. I have worked for several large corporations and have had their laptops, blackberries, etc. I never signed anything stating they were not gifts or whatever it is you imagine might be signed. Obviously these tools are property of the company.

But with the iPods, this is does seem pretty slimy. iPods are a very hot gift item for corporations and sales conferences, etc. It is hard to think of them as business equipment and not primarily for personal use.

The NS article mentions the business purpose of the iPods in the same way that a boondoggle in Hawaii has a business purpose. You may have to attend a meeting or something so that the company can write it off as a business expense, but everybody knows that if you got to go on the trip it is as a reward.

Irritated Regular (user link) says:

MIKE - You're dropping the ball again!

Mike,

What the hell is up with the fluff you’ve been posting as news lately?

This is the second week in a row that things have been pretty lame around here.

Strike two.

If you guys don’t get back to some real stories soon, I’m going to have to drop you from my RSS feeds.

(Yes, I’m sure it’ll hurt your feelings. 😛 )

Slackerman (user link) says:

Used to work for National...

…glad I don’t any longer.

Halla is all-go, no-show, and his company shows it. I’m more than a bit surprised by its “success” of late. Success is in quotes because I have a hard time defining flat revenue growth (from when I was with the company…circa 1998) and head count reductions as “success”.

To me, this is just more of the same from a company that just doesn’t “get it”.

media hater says:

How typical of bloggers

Everything is hyped up for no reason. The reason any of this even happened is that John Doe decided to give his work utility to close acquaintance X.

Look at the inherent bias here:

1. These are ex-employees (read people intended on distancing themselves from National Semiconductor / bashing National Semiconductor as much as possible)

2. This is a tech oriented blog that routinely gets the crap that digg / slashdot / cnet / et al doesn’t manage to hype and delivers the matter a liberal dose of marketing fluff itself.

Shame on you Techdirt for not actually getting to the heart of the matter.

The result is a wanking session of idiots posting the same “interesting” ideas in the comments session in different permutations of words and phrases.

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