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Apple CEO Cook Gets Deposition Order in Antitrust Case (bloomberg.com)
29 points by skipper86 on Jan 19, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments

Looking at forests, I always thought it was curious that the top of the trees always fell at the same height. Asked a ranger one day (before smartphones) about this, and he mentioned how the tree that rises above the rest is more prone to get struck by lightning and die. Now I'm sure that there is a variety of biological reasons why that ranger was wrong, but I believe what he said is analogous to what you often see in certain industries. There tends to be a herd of companies closely competing, and every once in awhile one of them leaps ahead with some new product or innovation. But once they are ahead, they become the lightning rod. No longer are the headlines "Car pollution causes asthma in kids", they are now "Toyota cars give inner city kids asthma", or instead of "Movie violence causes kids to be more irritable" it becomes "Billion dollar Batman movie causes man to shoot brother". At a certain point, people are just looking for an excuse to get mad.

All that being said, due to innovation[1] and marketing, Apple became a dominant industry leader. But because of that, they now get attached to anything and everything, because the link bait of a title sells ads for news and magazines. Would this article be more aptly named "CEO's of Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar being deposed in antitrust case"? Absolutely. Would it sell papers? Nope. Instead, the tallest tree in the forest gets the lightning.

[1] The iPod and iPhone launched industries due to the amount of polish and refinement went into them. That was innovation. I know that they didn't invent the things from scratch with individual atoms made of stardust. Every new product would not be possible without thousands of previous inventions.

Apple being Apple gets credit when they don't deserve because press want to hype everything about Apple. The side effect of that is sometimes it does get bad press when it isn't sole party at fault.

And comments like these divert the entire thread from the real serious topic.

I don't think that's true, especially in the last years. Quite the opposite. Every product launch is surrounded by a "Why this will fail" article and every single problem with a product gets magnified to extreme lengths. Apple doesn't get hype anymore or at least it doesn't get the positive hype people tend to associate with the company.

Regarding the topic. Hey, feel free to to comment what you you want about the article, thats what comments are for. This is a side topic on this case. I think it's a good observation. Of course this is not what the case is about but its a related item and therefore it seems logical to bring it up.

Fascinating story and agree.

Personal example: Friend worked for large financial services company in mid-2000s. Company branded themselves as #1, largest, highest volume, etc. They were soon buried in litigation. In particular, several state attorney generals used company as a career stepping-stone for a headline ("State AG Sues XYZ for Millions"), and later settle for something much smaller (i.e. rebated 4 customers). Company also seemed the first stop for negative media about the industry. For them, being branded #1 was expensive.

Totally off topic but there is a new scientist article On the HN front page the your Ranger should read - no tree can grow leaves higher than 100 m up as the cost / benefit for capillary action fails

I suspect that for each species there is a maximum economic height and that give the uniform heights to a foresst

>Would this article be more aptly named "CEO's of Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar being deposed in antitrust case"?

Which of those companies is sitting on 120+ billion dollars of cash? Which one has the largest market cap? The largest profit per quarter? Profit generated per employee?

Which one has the best means to pay more and has the least need to engage in such practices harmful to employees?

I think in 2006 the answer would have been different.

I'd like your analogy -- if Apple didn't get there in part by doing the same, e.g. attacking Samsung with ridiculous patent suits.

I was a software engineer at Apple during this time and I'm sort of pissed about this. It always bothered me that the richest company in the world could be so stingy.

Anyone know if there's a class action coming up or anything?

The reason Apple is stingy is not because of this antitrust case. Apple pays (relatively) poorly because they don't want people to work there for the money. As I'm sure you know, Apple employees are fanatics about the company's products. Apple wants those people, not the "WTF? You're only giving me $100K and no free food? What is this shit?" people, even it it means losing a couple good engineers. Many other Silicon Valley companies are content giving their employees ridiculous salaries and perks, and don't really care whether engineers are evangelical about their products. For mostly cultural reasons, Apple hires people who wouldn't turn around for a slight raise. In fact, back when Palm was still a company developing WebOS, the standing offer for iOS engineers was to DOUBLE Apple's salary. Think about that - not enough employees were leaving for anything less than a 100% raise. Even at Apple's low salary levels, I think that says something about employee loyalty.

Have you ever worked for Apple or are you just speculating? Your observations are incongruent with my time there. You definitely do not need to be a fanboy to work there.

At an all hands, someone asked SJ why the pay was low and he gave some wise ass remark followed by 'you own stock, don't you?'

Yes, I have worked for Apple. Anecdotally, almost everyone I met was a fanboy.

I doing find the alleged agreements particularly outrageous, personally. I find the common 'confidentiality' clause about disclosing your salary more offensive.

I am a little confused - did they agree not to pouch each others employees, or just agree not to cold call and so distract everyone?

I can imagine that individuals and even whole teams upped from one company to another in 2006 - so they did take employees - presumably via informal networks, conferences and so on - you know the approaches we are supposed to be polishing ourselves

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