Monday, January 03, 2011

More Dirty Tricks

I recently posted about Pixar and Lucasfilm being found guilty of restraint of trade by the United States Department of Justice. Apparently, this is not the only time Pixar has been found guilty of this. According to an editorial in The New York Times,
"In September, the Justice Department settled another suit over similar no-solicitation agreements involving Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit and Pixar."
After a little digging, I came up with this:
"Apple-Pixar Agreement

"Beginning no later than April 2007, Apple and Pixar agreed that they would not cold call each other's employees. Executives at Apple and Pixar reached this express agreement through direct and explicit communications. The executives actively managed and enforced the agreement through direct communications. The agreement covered all employees of both firms and was not limited by geography, job function, product group, or time period. In furtherance of this agreement, Apple placed Pixar on its internal ``Do Not Call List'' and senior executives at Pixar instructed human resources personnel to adhere to the agreement and maintain a paper trail in the event Apple accused Pixar of violating the agreement."
So in this case, it appears that Steven Jobs fixed it so that the two companies he controls didn't compete against each other for employees.

It's getting a lot harder for me to take the sentiment in Pixar films at face value.


Eric Noble said...

I see what you mean. I am truly disappointed in Pixar, but I guess that's what happens when y a company becomes a major power-player.

Thad said...

But, but their movies make people cry.

David B. Levy said...

So, based on this, we have to question sentiment in Snow White and Pinocchio too, right? Because during the 30s Disney recruiters tried to scoop up New York Fleischer animators right in front of their building?

Films are films. They stand or fall on their own merits. Not to say that you can't lower your opinion of the company.

Paige Halsey said...

Please excuse my ignorance but I don't really see how this is a negative thing. I don't know very much about business but wouldn't it be in both companies' interest to not be directly competing against one another for talented employees? When there are so many talented, aspiring people out there who would love the opportunity to be considered for either company, doesn't it make sense to make each company look elsewhere for employees?

Mark Mayerson said...

Paige, it is totally in the companies' interests not to compete, but it is illegal.

Say that you work for Pixar and you're very good at what you do. You get approached by either Lucasfilm or Apple and offered a job for more money. It is your choice to leave, stay, or to go to Pixar and try to negotiate more money from them. Not a bad position to be in.

Now imagine that Lucasfilm and Apple want you, but because of an agreement they signed with Pixar, they don't approach you. You not only lose opportunities, you also lose the chance at higher income. The companies have conspired, in secret, to keep you in your job and prevent you from getting a raise.

That is known as restraint of trade and it is against the law.

Floyd Norman said...

Boss Tweed said it right.

"We must appear to respect the law even as we break it."

Honesty is too much to expect from successful corporations. Sadly, I learned that many years ago.

Maurice said...

To be fair, we don't have the specifics as to who brainstormed the employee trade-restriction deal. John Lasseter (the guy who's more responsible for the creative end of the company) might not agree with the deal. He might, but we don't know for sure. (I'm thinking Ed Catmull and Jim Morris, the guys on the business end, are more likely culprits.) Anyway, such shadyness isn't reflected in the films themselves, so the films can't be criticized based on a scandal like this.

Paige Halsey said...

Whoa, I hadn't thought of that. Yikes. Thanks for letting me know.