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EMC scuppers Donatelli's HP switch

Massachusetts court says 'Hang on a minute'

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A temporary injunction issued in a Massachusetts courts stops EMC leaver David Donatelli starting work at HP today.

Donatelli was running EMC's Information Systems business and had overseen its Symmetrix V-Max launch last month, when he abruptly resigned to join HP and run its server, storage and networking businesses, which have been newly combined into one organisation for him. Instead of working out how to sell HP's OEM'd Hitachi Data Systems against his previous Symmetrix product, he can stroll down to his local Starbucks and read the papers.

Donatelli has a law case filed in California which aims to bust the non-compete clause in his EMC employment contract. Californian legal precedents strongly suggest that the state thinks non-compete clauses are bad things. Things appear differently on the East Coast and EMC filed a counter-suit in its home state of Massachusetts, where what people sign in employment contracts is held to be enforceable. Judge Stephen E. Neel in the Suffolk County Superior Court has issued a temporary injunction in EMC's favour.

It restrains Donatelli from starting work at HP until the outcome of a full hearing. The judgement comments that general Californian state opposition to non-compete clauses does not invalidate EMC's application for injunctive release. An HP spokesperson says the company is confident that Donatelli will commence his new role at some point when the two legal cases are resolved. Until then, HP's new organisation will have to wait for Donatelli's coronation as its head. ®

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