BlackBerry Is Now Suing Its Executives To Prevent Them From Working For Apple

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BlackBerry — the beleaguered Canadian smartphone maker that controls literally 0 percent U.S. market share — is now suing its own executives to prevent them from quitting their jobs and flocking to Apple. Really!

Sebastien Marineau-Mes is BlackBerry’s SVP of Software. In December of last year, he was offered a job by Apple to become the Vice President of Core OS. So he quit his job at BlackBerry, giving two months’ notice.

The only problem? Apparently, Marineau-Mes signed a contract saying he’d give six months’ notice of any resignation. As iMore reports:

To add insult to injury, that contract was signed on September 27, 2013 — both while BlackBerry was under a promotional freeze (except for when you really want to keep somebody) and while Marineau-Mes was in discussions about moving to Apple. So BlackBerry took Marineau-Mes to court, and the court agreed that he should fulfill his six-month notice obligation at the company.

BlackBerry seems pleased that it has to sue its own executives to remain at the company, but as iMore observes:

For what it’s worth, Apple’s been down this road before. In 2008 Apple tried hiring Mark Papermaster away from IBM, but the transition was hung up on a no-compete clause that took several months to resolve. Apple’s a patient company when they want to be, so if they really want Marineau-Mes, they’ll wait. Until June.

Heck, by June, BlackBerry’s doors may be completely shuttered, making the whole thing moot.

  • JDSoCal

    Ironic, since Apple cannot enforce non-competes (illegal in CA). So Apple has to hire the fired like Forestall to be Special Assistants to the CEO With Non-Working Card Keys.

    • lucascott

      This isn’t exactly the same as a non compete. This guy hadn’t quit and then was hired. He was hired, while under contract with Blackberry and then didn’t follow through on the obligations of his contract to give notice. Had he given notice they could have taken appropriate measures.

      And despite the typical CoM hit whoring BS headline he wasn’t sued because he was going to Apple or anywhere. He was sued for violation of contract. He could have been quitting to go work at McDonalds and they still could have sued

      • JDSoCal

        Of course, a 6-month notice requirement is likely intended to replace a non-compete, which I would imagine also runs afoul of Canajin law.

      • RickardOGrady

        My only issue is that a contract is binding on BOTH. RIM failed to deliver on it’s side. There has to be more to it than what’s published.

  • digitaldumdum

    “BlackBerry Is Now Suing Its Executives To Prevent Them From Working For Apple”

    Fear and loathing at BlackBerry. How the mighty have fallen.

    • Nharzhool .

      Except that isn’t what is happening here. The is sensationalism in the title. This author goes out of his way to trash-talk BlackBerry.

      The guy signed a contract stating that he needs to give 6 month’s notice. He tried to leave without doing so. BlackBerry used the law to make him stay until his notice has been served.

      Your comment is just as stupid as this article. When I sign a contract, I honour the terms set down in it as long as they correspond with the local law and I expect the other party to do so as well. This executive tried to get around this…BlackBerry is just ensuring that he honours his side of the agreement.

      The name of this site explains exactly what it is…a cult. This is not a fanbase…it is a cult and is behaving like one.

      • digitaldumdum

        And you aren’t behaving very well, either. My comment “is as stupid as the article?” Please. My opinion is that there’s fear and loathing at BlackBerry, and your opinion is different. I don’t call you stupid.

        Perhaps if you knew a bit more about the goings on inside BlackBerry, Inc. (Formerly Research In Motion), you would’t be so quick to make sweeping pronouncements. I’m glad you honor your contracts and commitments. Great. The fact is, no-compete clauses and threats to sue if one goes to work for another company are disallowed in most states, and for good reason. From what I’ve read about the erstwhile R.I.M. over the years (and certainly for how their brand has fallen), fear and loathing fits perfectly. Not stupid, just my opinion.

      • Nharzhool .

        I said your comment was stupid, not that you are. The comment was. My comment was also stupid and I apologise for that.

        They’re Canadian, US law doesn’t apple to them. Their non-compete is legal. Shit, MY non-compete form is 2 years which is industry standard here in South Africa.

        I think the threat of suing makes sense when someone tries to do something illegal. This is evident by the fact that the court sided with BlackBerry here.

        Either way, time for me to go watch the Lego Movie.

      • digitaldumdum

        I apologize as well! I can pop off too fast. If we don’t have civility on the Internet, how can we elsewhere?

        I think I’ll watch that Lego Movie too!

  • Nharzhool .

    This article is a trite and pathetic attempt to make BlackBerry’s completely legal and honourable actions seem bad.

    You are disgusting, John Brownlee.

  • RickardOGrady

    “It is unfortunate that we had to take this step, but we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that employees honour the agreements they make with us,” a BlackBerry spokesperson said in a statement.

    Absolutely. Agreements should be honored. With that said, unless I misread the court documents, you (as in RIM) failed to honor your side, due to promotion freeze. So, help me understand the distinction… did you expect that you could dishonor your end, and he should honor his?

    That’s like me buying a house then failing to pay, then suing the bank for trying to reclaim the house. AND WINNING!

    Bonkers. Pure bonkers.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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