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Moto sues former exec over iPhone's success

updated 07:10 pm EDT, Fri July 18, 2008

Motorola sues Apple exec

Motorola is suing former executive Michael Fenger - currently vice president of Apple's global iPhone sales - for allegedly divulging corporate secrets to further the success of Apple's relatively new cellular platform, such as margins, operating strategies, marketing information, and customer initiatives, among other things. According to Bloomberg, Fenger formerly oversaw Motorola's mobile business as vice president in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Apple was not named in the suit.

In addition to damages (which Motorola is seeking due to a breach of written contract with Genger, stating that Fenger is not to be employed by a competing company for at least two years from March 31st) the company hopes to recover over $1 millon in stock-option grants.

In related news, the iPhone has sold over a million handsets since its launch last Friday, with lineups still occurring around the world. AT&T is currently telling the majority of its customers that new stock may take between two and four business weeks to fill.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    non-competitive clause

    withstanding, motorola is whining about having a c*** line up of phones and wanting to blame someone else?a bit sad if a single person can be blamed for all their woes and worries...

  1. fahlman

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Learn for your mistakes

    Here's how we did it at Motorola, I'd suggest we do everything the exact opposite.

  1. sribe

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    bullshit

    "due to a breach of written contract with Genger, stating that Fenger is not to be employed by a competing company"

    Wait a minute, wasn't Moto recently claiming that the iPhone was not competition? So now they're admitting that it is???

    "..the company hopes to recover over $1 millon in stock-option grants..."

    Hmm. If the guy actually did contribute significantly to the iPhone's success, I bet Apple could make the recovery of $1million in stock options seem relatively painless with, oh, I don't know, some grants of some stock or other that's not currently tanking ;-)

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    who's Genger?

    "In addition to damages (which Motorola is seeking due to a breach of written contract with Genger, stating that Fenger is not to be employed by a competing company for at least two years from March 31st) the company hopes to recover over $1 millon in stock-option grants."

    Genger?

  1. neondiet

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Bad contracts

    I wonder how enforceable these contracts are. Banning someone from working for a competitor for 2 years is pretty draconian, especially if your specialty is in one particular sector, like telecoms.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -4

    Re: bad contracts

    Very enforceable. It's a CONTRACT. You sign it. You agree to the terms. That's the whole point of a contract.

    I'm sure if you had a contract with a company which said "We'll pay you $1 million a year for 5 years", and then a couple of years later they came and said "Man, those terms seem draconian, we're not paying you anymore", you'd be suing them.

    The big question, of course, is "How come they didn't sue his a** the moment he was announced joining the iPhone team???"

  1. bfalchuk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    not really

    Actually, non-competes are notoriously hard to enforce, and, technically, Apple wasn't a competitor until the iPhone was launched, so he wasn't working for a competitor for some time. It's also likely that he had too little time to impact the iPhone enough to hurt Moto. Moto likely did more on its own to hurt itself than Apple or the iPhone did. Let's also not forget that Apple was working with Moto for some time on the c*** ROKR E1, so Moto likely spilled enough of its own beans for Apple to understand what it needed to do to succeed.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: not really

    Actually, non-competes are notoriously hard to enforce, and, technically, Apple wasn't a competitor until the iPhone was launched, so he wasn't working for a competitor for some time.

    Read the article. He joined in March. This year. Thus Apple WAS a competitor (and had been for over a year - Apple became a competitor the second they officially announced the iPhone).

  1. QualleyIV

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: Re: not really

    Hey, non-lawyers, I wouldn't even think of giving legal advice on a message board, but I can tell you that bfalchuk is much more accurate than testudo as far as this particular topic is concerned...

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Read before you comment

    Non-compete clauses are not notoriously hard to enforce. You have no clue what you are talking about. If reasonable, they are always enforced. Draconian? It's draconian to want to stop someone from working for a competitor after working for you and acquiring mass amounts of confidential information?

    Generally, if a non-compete clause is reasonable (as in having reasonable terms, i.e. 4 years and not eternity, or within a certain jurisdiction) they will be enforced.

    You fan boys love to pretend you know what you're talking about.

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