Who's the auto tycoon that makes Apple employees swoon? It's ... MUSK!

Tesla boss lures 150+ of Cook's cadets to 'leccy carmaker

Tesla's Elon Musk

Auto firm Tesla has taken advantage of Apple's new-found policy on poaching by hiring away staffers from the consumer electronics giant.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the battery-powered automaker has hired away some 150 employees from the house that Steve Jobs built – more than any other single company – ranging from engineers to legal counsel and human resources staffers.

Tesla founder Elon Musk suggested that the firms are very much alike, sharing "closely aligned" design philosophies.

It should come as no surprise that rival firms want to recruit key Apple executives, given the firm's recent run of success. The migration is worth noting, however, because a few years ago it might not have been allowed to happen.

In 2009, Apple was named as a key figure in an elaborate wage-fixing conspiracy that took hold of Silicon Valley over the last decade. A probe by the Department of Justice found that Cupertino had struck secret deals with the likes of Adobe, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar where each company agreed not to try to hire away employees from the others.

As a result of the no-poach pacts, the investigation found, wages for key positions at the tech outfits were effectively capped.

The DoJ reached a settlement with the firms in 2010 where they agreed to scrap their hiring agreements. But that didn't stop current and former employees of the companies from launching a class-action lawsuit that was only recently resolved in a $415m settlement.

A number of other Silicon Valley companies, including Palm and Facebook, were reportedly approached to participate in the wage-fixing scheme but declined – and by so doing, saved themselves a bundle in legal fees and settlements.

With such deals now firmly in the past, it appears that Apple's fabled brand loyalty doesn't quite have the hold on its employees that it once did. ®

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