Google had one hour to make counter offers to prevent Facebook poaching talent

Google instigated a policy in 2007 that saw the search giant make generous counter-offers to employees being courted by rival Facebook within one hour, court documents show.

The policy was revealed by a leaked Eric Schmidt email, who was Google's chief executive at the time. It was put into force in November 2007 by Schmidt in an attempt to prevent the rapidly growing Facebook from stealing personnel.

Facebook had just raised $240m from Microsoft at the time, shunning investment from Google.

The policy was described as "disturbing" by Vijay Gill, a manager within Google’s key engineering organisation. Gill questioned the policy saying it “appears to contravene our equal pay for equal performance policy” and that “it appears to reward folks applying to Facebook”, as reported by Quartz.

At the time, Schmidt confirmed the policy and said that Google “should be embarrassed and disgusted by the leak”.

Tech talent fight

Facebook was not included in the no-hiring pact that existed between the big Silicon Valley tech giants, including Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe. The war with Facebook for software engineering talent was so fierce that Google considered having its cofounders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, personally court Facebook workers.

The documents detailing the internal dealings were released as part of the $3bn case sought by technology workers against Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe. The four technology companies are accused of conspiring to fix wages and not recruit other’s technology talent by 64,000 tech workers.

Google and Apple have offered a settlement of $324m, which has yet to approved by US District Judge Lucy Koh who is presiding over the case.

Google declined to comment on the ongoing court case.

Google's founders Brin and Page on robots, health and solving the big problemsPowered by article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for on Tuesday 15th July 2014 12.36 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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