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posted by janrinok on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the well-it's-too-late-now dept.

The NYT reports that recent revelations that Steve Jobs was the driving force in a conspiracy to prevent competitors from poaching employees raises the question: If Steve Jobs were alive today, should he be in jail? Jobs "was a walking antitrust violation. I'm simply astounded by the risks he seemed willing to take," says Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law and an expert in antitrust law. "Didn't he have lawyers advising him? You see this kind of behavior sometimes in small, private or family-run companies, but almost never in large public companies like Apple." In 2007, Jobs threatened Palm with patent litigation unless Palm agreed not to recruit Apple employees, even though Palm's then-chief executive, Edward Colligan, told him that such a plan was "likely illegal." That same year, Jobs wrote Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google at the time, "I would be extremely pleased if Google would stop doing this," referring to its efforts to recruit an Apple engineer. When Jobs learned that the Google recruiter who contacted the Apple employee would be "fired within the hour," he responded with a smiley face. "How could anyone have approved that?" says Hovenkamp. "Any competent antitrust counsel would know that's illegal. And they had to know they'd get caught eventually."

But the anti-poaching pact was hardly Jobs's only brush with the law. Jobs behavior was at the center of an e-book price-fixing conspiracy with major publishers where a federal judge ruled that "Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy." (Apple has appealed the decision. The publishers all settled the case.) Jobs also figured prominently in the options backdating scandal that rocked Silicon Valley eight years ago. An investigation by Apple's lawyers cleared Jobs of wrongdoing, saying he didn't understand the accounting implications but five executives of other companies went to prison for backdating options, while Jobs was never charged.

There's no way of knowing whether Jobs, had he lived and been healthy, would have faced charges, especially since he was a recidivist. Given Jobs's immense popularity, prosecutors might not have wanted to risk a trial, says Hovenkamp. Jobs probably came closest to being prosecuted in the backdating scandal, but by then he was already known to have pancreatic cancer. Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson notes that "over and over, people referred to his reality distortion field." Isaacson added, "The rules just didn't apply to him, whether he was getting a license plate that let him use handicapped parking or building products that people said weren't possible. Most of the time he was right, and he got away with it."

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by BasilBrush on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:26PM

    by BasilBrush (3994) on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:26PM (#39511)

    This summary was plagiarised verbatim from Slashdot. This is not what slylentnews should be doing. teve-jobs-defied-convention-and-perhaps-the-law []

    Hurrah! Quoting works now!
    • (Score: 2) by BasilBrush on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:54PM

      by BasilBrush (3994) on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:54PM (#39524)

      It may be that "Hugh Pickens DOT Com" on slashdot is the same person as "Papa Fritas" here, as there are a lot of duplicate submissions with these two. If so, that's not plagarism. But still, does Soylent News really want to be duplicating Slashdot stories?

      Hurrah! Quoting works now!
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:20PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:20PM (#39528) Journal

        Hugh Pickens is papas fritas - one and the same. We know he posts to both sites and, although it is discouraged, it is something that happens. Sometimes we post first, other times they do. But we do not spend our days looking at the other site to see what they are doing and, until they publish, we do not know what stories they are running with. He is a prolific submitter and we cover lots of his stories.

        If you want us to refuse his stories in future then the community will have to step in a fill the gap. At the moment, and particularly at weekends, the community are falling short of what is required. The solution is in your hands.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by mrcoolbp on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:23PM

          by mrcoolbp (68) <> on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:23PM (#39529) Homepage

          "It's always my fault..."

          Or, we can just blame you. It's much easier that way!

          (Score:1^½, Radical)
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:45PM

          by edIII (791) on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:45PM (#39572)

          Funny you mention that. I just submitted a story.

          We should be far less concerned about what Slashdot does. I know there are stories there, and they may be dupes from here or not. I don't care.

          I come here, and this where I saw the story. Is this such a big deal that it overshadows the fact that Jobs would have made Kettering proud with his ability to create a caste system?

          Jobs never actually killed people though, Kettering most certainly did and he damn well knew how dangerous TEL was and that the workers were never told just how dangerous it was. Kettering hid like a coward behind Kehoe, and Kehoe quite frankly has a lot in common with Nazi scientists with his blame the victim attitude. Yes, the "boys" were just being stupid with the TEL, even though Kehoe never told them just how toxic it was and these "boys" were not well educated either. Some may say he deserves some redemption by creating industrial safety standards and methods, but that was all purchased science from Kettering to make sure TEL could be pushed everywhere without resistance.

          There is a lot in common between the stories because even today there are people that look at Kettering like he was a benevolent God and genius. Kettering was untouchable, and it's not taught in schools that Kettering and his ilk were directly responsible for treason by disclosing valuable technology to the Nazi's. We may never know how crippled the Nazi military would have been without the fuel technologies (among others) that were disclosed to them willingly by American traitors headquartered in Detroit.

          Jobs is not the inventor of the reality distortion field, and he got away with everything he did precisely because he learned it directly/indirectly from people like Kettering. Jobs was just very good at it, and for that matter, we don't know if Gates isn't the absolute master at it either. Gates faded away in the most intelligent way possible and probably knew when to leave the stage. Jobs was simply too in love with himself to do that.

          While Jobs was a complete and utter cunt to employees industry wide and a general asshole to the world, he was just playing a game that other men created. It does not surprise me in the least that prosecutors decided to give him a pass because the trial would have been "hard", success wasn't certain, and they could never know if Jobs could get them fired within the hour.

          The biggest question is not about some dead sociopathic asshole like Jobs, but how many people are in the industry now doing their best to imitate Jobs and harming people every single day?

          Madoff went to prison, but nobody from Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros, etc. went to prison. Nobody in Big Pharma goes to prison. The most dangerous people that cause the greatest harm to us never feel the force of law. In fact, they get custom representation and benefits instead of jail time.

          What makes it worse is how many Apple fanbois there are out there, how many corporate apologists, and how many people blinded by the shiny that Apple makes that all work together to create an environment that doesn't strongly condemn Jobs and what he did.

          If you think Jobs was good at it, then why is it that some of the greatest exploitation against the American public and the world in general go undiscussed, unwritten, and denied? Some of the nastier things that have happened seem to get swept up under the rug.

          Jobs is the example for today of somebody that needed to be stopped a long time ago with his bullshit, but he's dead. The others are still alive today.

          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Monday May 05 2014, @02:29AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Monday May 05 2014, @02:29AM (#39644) Homepage

          Good to know it's the same dude. No worries then about swiping verbatim.

          And actually I don't care. If I'm interested in a story on the one site, I'll probably be interested in it on the other...even if the stories are identical, the comments are not.

        • (Score: 2) by Aighearach on Monday May 05 2014, @09:38AM

          by Aighearach (2621) on Monday May 05 2014, @09:38AM (#39718)

          If somebody does it once, ignore the submission and give them a warning.

          If they duplicate-submit a second time, just ban them from submitting.

          If it is a frequent submitter, then there is no excuse and you shouldn't waste a bunch of time figuring it out; they should know better.

          • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday May 05 2014, @05:44PM

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 05 2014, @05:44PM (#39868) Journal

            While I understand your sentiment, there are several problems with your proposed approach.

            1. HP/PF hasn't done anything illegal or wrong. He is perfectly entitled to send material to whichever sites he wishes.

            2. There is nothing to say that genuine duplicates will not occur - indeed they do and we try to avoid them where we can.

            3. We are trying to encourage people to join our community and to submit stories - banning people would probably drive more away from the site than would be offended by the odd duplicate falling through the net.

            4. Who will provide the 5+ stories each week that HP/PF currently provides? If it is you, then we are waiting to receive them with open arms. And from anyone else for that matter.

            5. What is the problem with dupes from other sites? Those who only visit one site or the other are completely unaware of them. If you want to follow the submitters' links you will find the same story in different formats written many times on the web. As long as we get at least one of them, I am happy.

            What we do NOT want are people copying stories from another site and then submitting them to us as original work.

          • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:20PM

            by urza9814 (3954) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:20PM (#40131) Journal


      • (Score: 4, Informative) by n1 on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:29PM

        by n1 (993) on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:29PM (#39531) Journal

        There is some strong evidence to suggest Hugh Pickens and Papas Fritas are the same person. We accept submissions on their own merits. We are not checking other sites, we have shared communities but not everyone here visits there and vice-versa. Dupes are inevitable in that situation.

        Important to note is, we also may not even know they're going to run a story before us.... We don't know what is in their queue, they don't know what is in ours - we have run a couple from Papas Fritas before them, I believe. Slashdot may have run this story, but some of the community on this site do not visit there anymore so wouldn't have known that.

        If we avoided posting interesting submissions that other sites already have posted or may intend to post, we'd be a pretty crappy alternative, I think.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by kaszz on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:23PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday May 04 2014, @05:23PM (#39530) Journal

      It's easier to read on a site that lacks all that dicey beta wrecked html. Also that other site seems to have missed the thing called https..

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday May 05 2014, @02:32AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday May 05 2014, @02:32AM (#39646) Homepage

        And yesterday that other site suddenly dumped me into Beta when I drilled down to a comment (I had mod points). I'm like, what's this illegible shit??

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday May 05 2014, @02:46AM

          by kaszz (4211) on Monday May 05 2014, @02:46AM (#39648) Journal

          Ban the beta hostname. That way you will at least avoid having to load that crap.

          Seems both slashdot and google follow the same path. Once they get pw0ned by the shareholder marketplace or MBAs. Sanity leaves. Cisco and Apple is also two examples of this. Especially Apple where one can observe the effect of the founder returning.

          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday May 05 2014, @03:17AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Monday May 05 2014, @03:17AM (#39660) Homepage

            Yeah, it oughta have a name... maybe the Shareholder Effect. :/

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @01:49PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @01:49PM (#39775)

      what is wrong to copy something?

      I do expect to have all the top /. stories that are not sladversiment and clickbait in here one way or another

      I do expect for soylent to be all the good things from /. without the crap.

      The user base in /. is much larger than soylent now... so they have a wider range of news... I dont see a problem copying the good stuff... is not like /. is making it theirselves....

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by rancid on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:26PM

    by rancid (4090) <reversethis-{ten.rotliam} {ta} {izbas}> on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:26PM (#39512)


  • (Score: 1) by Oligonicella on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:31PM

    by Oligonicella (4169) on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:31PM (#39517)

    No. Most of the time he was wrong *but* he got away with it.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Buck Feta on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:55PM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Sunday May 04 2014, @04:55PM (#39525) Journal

    doesn't mean you're not an asshole. And I am not picking on Jobs in particular here. There are lots of geniuses whose work I love, but who are also terrible human beings.

    - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 1) by goody on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:46PM

      by goody (2135) on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:46PM (#39573)

      Having read two-thirds of Job's biography I'd say he was both a genius and an asshole, and perhaps he even had a touch of insanity. One question I struggle with is whether it would have been possible to turn around Apple and make the products they do without such an asshole at the helm.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @02:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @02:23AM (#39643)

        How bad does someone's batting average have to be before he's no longer a "genius"? []
        The stillborn Lisa
        The never-went-anywhere NeXT
        The infamous "high quality" of the Apple III []
        The iPhone antenna fiasco, where if you used the product like *most* people do, it failed []

        The posthumous blow job that guy got was ridiculous.
        People who allow lamestream media to lead them around by the nose are just inane.

        -- gewg_

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by kaszz on Monday May 05 2014, @10:14AM

          by kaszz (4211) on Monday May 05 2014, @10:14AM (#39722) Journal

          He also created co-founded Pixar and turned around Apple from 90 days to bankruptcy with iPod. Being creative also means failure. The point is to be able to recover and to score a big win.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by goody on Sunday May 04 2014, @06:14PM

    by goody (2135) on Sunday May 04 2014, @06:14PM (#39541)

    I'm curious why Eric Schmidt doesn't draw any ire. Apparently he oversaw the no hire policy and the firing of the Google recruiter.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:19PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:19PM (#39567)

      He deserves ire too. It's just that so many people have put Jobs on a pedestal, his personal brand is nearly as big as the Apple brand, while comparatively few even know who Schmidt is much less lionize him.

  • (Score: 2) by AsteroidMining on Sunday May 04 2014, @06:59PM

    by AsteroidMining (3556) on Sunday May 04 2014, @06:59PM (#39547)

    I read something like this, and go, WTF? "Should Google be broken up?" is a reasonable anti-trust question for discussion. "Should someone (who happens to be dead) have gone to jail if the clock could be rerun on events years ago that (while possibly illegal) did not actually threaten true monopoly power?", well, not so much, at least for me.

    Oh, and I did see this in Slashdot.

    • (Score: 1) by darkfeline on Sunday May 04 2014, @07:42PM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Sunday May 04 2014, @07:42PM (#39560) Homepage

      So if I tried to kill you and failed, it's not a crime because no damage was done? Well, actually, it is still a crime, regardless of whether or not your name is Steve Jobs, whether or not you're a "genius", whether or not it "actually threatened true monopoly power". If you don't like that, perhaps you should consider moving to a different country?

      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
    • (Score: 2) by Aighearach on Monday May 05 2014, @09:42AM

      by Aighearach (2621) on Monday May 05 2014, @09:42AM (#39720)

      No. If we can do it over, knowing he is going to die and escape jail, we should go back in time to give him the death penalty.

    • (Score: 2) by marcello_dl on Monday May 05 2014, @09:14PM

      by marcello_dl (2685) on Monday May 05 2014, @09:14PM (#39942)

      Google can't be broken up for monopoly abuse because of one word: Bing. THANKS, MICROSOFT. :)

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Appalbarry on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:01PM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Sunday May 04 2014, @08:01PM (#39562) Journal

    Silly rabbit! Jails are for POOR people!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04 2014, @10:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04 2014, @10:29PM (#39594)

    Didn't Woz and Jobs support and found Apple with Blueboxing? In that case isn't the entire company founded on cash from an illegal or criminal enterprise?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @01:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @01:55AM (#39632)

      No, that's how they made pocket money early on (and impressed non-techie acquaintances).

      The startup money to make the first Apple I batch came from Woz selling his calculator and Jobs selling his microbus.

      -- gewg_