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Nat Semi tells ejected employees to return freebie iPods

Music player for business, not pleasure

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Chip maker Nat Semi has asked 35 employees it has made redundant to return the 30GB iPod each was given last month. Many of the workers thought the music players were a gift, but no, according to their former employer, the devices were not presents but communications tools.

"The iPod is another communications platform that, in our view, will become a commonplace workplace item - just like the cell phones, laptops, desktops, Blackerrys and other technology gear that we routinely issue to employees," Nat Semi's chief spin doctor, Jeff Weir, wrote in an email cited by EETimes.

"We also ask employees to turn those items in when they leave, and no one to date has questioned that policy," Weir added. The ex-employees were also given the option to purchase the iPods at a discount.

So there you have it, the iPod is a vital business tool, and we can presumably look forward to major merger and acquisitions being negotiated by podcast.

News of Nat Semi's mean move was revealed earlier this week by US newspaper the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The 35 iPod-less workers were employed at Nat Semi's Arlington, Texas facility.

According to Weir, the returned iPods will be re-issued to new workers. Nice. You can just see the slogan: 'Come to work for National Semiconductor and get a second-hand iPod!'

The iPods were handed out on 12 June, one for every Nat Semi employee - all 8,500-odd of them, at the time. The presentation arose after Nat Semi posted particularly strong financial results. On the day, the company said its workers would be able to use the players to listen to the firm's own podcasts and other messages. Lucky people. ®

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