Fighting Corporate Evil Perpetuated by Technology Giants

Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe had a deal not to hire from each other!

It was in 1997 I quit journalism to try my hand at corporate writing and get away from the monopolistic media sector in Singapore. I moved into the world of information technology – a calculated risk that has served me well!

Prior to that switch I attended an interview at Bloomberg when I was told I would have to work for a few days as part of an on-the-job evaluation process. I also learnt that if I worked for a Bloomberg client the information would be relayed to my then employer before I am hired. I was not prepared to accept these conditions which I thought were unreasonable. So I did not pursue it.

It may not be devious behaviour on the part of the employer as the rules were clearly laid out for the jobseeker to walk into the trap, knowing the inherent pitfalls. It was clear, though, that the employee was at a distinct disadvantage because of the open collusion among employers!

Death of a software engineer: Now, 17 years later, things appear to have only gone worse for employees if the drama that is being played out in California, triggered by the death of a software engineer, Brandon Marshall, is any indication.

It appears four technology giants in the Silicon Valley — Google, Apple, Intel and Adobehad a tacit deal among them not to hire people from each other! What a devious corporate tactic to restrict the movement of employees in what is believed to be the land of the free!

It not only puts curbs in the way of people seeking career progression, it even exposes them to the risk of losing their current jobs if they try to venture out!

Brainchild of Steve Jobs: It is learnt that this wily, anti-employee scheme was the brainchild of late Apple founder Steve Jobs, idolised by the tech community! Apple was never considered a good employer, but the new revelations put it in poorer light!

Businesses do make significant investments on staff development and it may not be wrong for them to expect a certain degree of stickiness and loyalty from those they trained. But there must be better ways to ensure staff retention without impeding their professional growth! Retention aside, what about employees who are subjected to victimisation by the companies they work for? With this kind of nasty deals in place, how can they find the kind of jobs they seek?

Hopefully, the antitrust suit in the US that pits 64, 613 students against Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe will deliver a fatal blow to unethical corporate practices.

It is expected that the class action suit can result in a settlement that will set these four companies back by US$3 billion!

The corporate world must be purged of such evil. There should be no place for that in a civilized world!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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