Of course, Jobs is the Teflon CEO. Almost nothing tarnishes him, from his near-pathological desire for secrecy to his well-known tirades against other Appletons.
The Bloomberg report was careful to note that it did not see any communications where Jobs directly made the nonpoaching offer, only the ones where Colligan rejected it. However, Jobs did make a not-so-veiled threat about "having more patents and more money than Palm" if it came down to a legal grudge match. That sounds like Jobs to me.
As PCworld's Tech Inciter David Coursey notes:
It is disappointing, but hardly amazing, that Jobs would try to do something that shows such disrespect to the engineers and others who actually create the products he gets credit for....Steve, there is an easy way to "stop this" that isn't nearly so likely to trigger a federal investigation: Stop treating your people like indentured servants. Treat them well, pay them what they are worth, and accept that even then some will want to leave for different, even greener pastures.
Will this be the thing that finally brings down the Annointed One? Somehow I doubt it. The most I see coming out of this are a long legal wrangle, followed by some kind of settlement involving fines and a vow to "do better next time."
But it does indicate the kinds of stakes at play here in mobile wars, how far companies are willing to go to protect their turf, and just how nasty it's likely to get.
Who do you think will win the battle for global mobile domination? Cast your votes below or e-mail me: email@example.com.