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Hello Moto... Lawsuit!

Once RAZR-sharp, now Icahnicly troubled Motorola has filed suit in Illinois court against Apple. More specifically, Michael Fenger, who stepped down from managing Moto handsets in EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, and Africa) to become VP of Global iPhone Sales at Apple. Problem? Seems Moto had a do-not-compete clause, and they see Apple as... er... competitive:

Moto claims Fenger "was privy to the pricing, margins, customer initiatives, allocation of resources, product development, multiyear product, business and talent planning and strategies being used by Motorola"

While I'm sure some people have ditched their RAZRs for the iPhone, I'm going to take a wild guess that it wasn't because of ill-obtained competitive knowledge, but because Moto mismanaged themselves out of innovation, and Apple produced a killer handset. But that's just me...

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Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I am one of those who ditched my Motorola Razr for the iphone. The Razr, tho it is a great phone, is terribly hard to use and not at all intuitive. I like the AT&T service and moved to it as a former Verizon (ugh) customer. I could care less whether Fenger was head-hunted by apple. I bought the Iphone 3G because of the handset and service, not because of some weird recruiting.
  • I used to work for a software company who regularly raided talent from a competitor who had do not compete clauses in their contracts. Nearly all of these people were either in development or senior management (in 3 cases both) and knew trade secrets. My company never lost a case in 7 trials because the competitor willingly let former employees go to other competitors just not us. If it's found that Moto is only selectively enforcing the do not competes then they'll likely lose as well. The lawsuits may be good for publicity if down the road they are useless from keeping the people from leaving for the competition. Worst case scenario for Apple is that they have to dip into their billions in cash to settle or pay a fine.