Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs points to a member of the audience during a Q&A session at the end of the iPhone OS4 special event at Apple headquarters in CupertinoIt’s undeniable that the competitive landscape around Silicon Valley and its key players is a steep one, and that ‘magic’ that Apple infuses its products with doesn’t come without some ugly, behind-the-scenes elbow throwing. The corporate culture created by the competition between these companies is not for the faint of heart by any means.

Earlier this week, we saw BlackBerry sue its own Senior Vice President of Software, Sebastien Marineau-Mes, as he attempted to jump off a sinking ship and take a VP job at Apple. In that case, the court offered that BlackBerry can enforce the contract which dictated its employee give six months notice before defecting to the other side, which it did.

And BlackBerry isn’t alone in extending a cold hand void of much empathy.

The devil is in the details of the emails exchanged by the leaders of Apple and Google. See for yourself what predicated Jobs’ call for a thermonuclear war against Google.

And while it’s no secret that Steve Jobs was by no means delicate, his reaction to a Google recruiter being fired after emailing an Apple engineer with a job offer, and Pando points out, is just sort of scary…

When Jobs found out that a Google recruiter was actively trying to poach and Apple employee, he followed up with a friendly email to Google’s Eric Schmidt.

“I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this,” Jobs said.

After a few exchanges later, Schmidt let Jobs know that the incident was an isolated one and was corrected by the recruiter being dismissed.

And how did Jobs react?

He forwarded Schmidt’s note that the Google employee had been fired to Apple’s HR lead… with a smiley face. Brutal.

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22 Responses to “Steve Jobs’ infamous brutality shown off in HR email exchanges”

  1. I don’t see how this is “brutal”. Having someone trying to poach employees from your company obviously is going to get some sort of reaction. I’m sure that recruiter got hired elsewhere.


  2. PMZanetti says:

    Jobs seems like he was never one mince words, or play politics. He made his honest feelings known. This is rarely ever a good management tactic…but it worked…I guess….


    • eldernorm says:

      “This is rarely ever a good management tactic…but it worked…I guess….”
      Nope, it killed Apple. They went out of business a few years ago after failing in the mp3 (iPod), phone (iPhone) and tablet (iPad) markets. Its just so sad. /s

      The tactic was not nice but the direction of being honest, brilliant, and different thinking, is what makes Apple what it is today. A company that thinks different that all the rest.

      Just saying.


  3. That was one brutal smiley face. The tone, the look, it’s mind blowing.


  4. Zac Hall says:

    I think OS X Mavericks would autocorrect :+) to this emoji: 😊

    Not sure if less cold or more


  5. scumbolt2014 says:





  6. i really don’t see that to be brutal expression. Poaching is a serious issue and would attract reaction from top management. I see Steve’s smiley in his email to the HR head as an assurance that the issue has been taken care by Google. Nothing more Nothing less..


  7. Zac Hall says:

    Wow some of you guys are more brutal than Jobs! 😉


  8. sardonick says:

    I’m still looking for the “brutal” part. Anyone not in a CEO position clearly cannot comprehend the responsibility associated with the task. However, I fail to see any brutality in this, or any other email.


  9. I don’t see this as “brutal”. “Brutal” to me would be an email from Jobs littered with F-bombs tearing Schmidt a new behind. A smiley face to me says, “Thanks. I’m happy that this was handled.” Once again we see the “media” taking things out of proportion and propagating stereotypes.


  10. thejuanald says:

    I am assuming the author of this article was using the word brutal sarcastically. On another note, anti poaching agreements are great for companies but are terrible for workers. They have zero leverage and it allows companies to pay workers less because they have no worry of losing a valuable employee to another, competing company.


  11. It’s brutal because he found pleasure in someone losing their job!! Doh! What a bunch of hard asses!


  12. I do not want to be biased towards Steve’s responses. However, I know that he clearly used to say that I do not want to make them happy, I want to make them better. His response to that guy as far as I know was justifiable knowing that fact that he generally treated all his employees equally.


  13. Et tu, “Brutal”?

    But seriously, if this is your idea of “brutal” you have clearly read a *great deal* more into it than any normal person (even someone who is aware of the darker side of Steve’s personality) would. “Brutal” would not be a one-charcter email. It would be a LONG email.


  14. nothing brutal here, Steve with this smiley simply said to his colleague – “see, how powerful we (Apple) are” :)


  15. Eye roll. What a pathetic and misleading attempt to slam Jobs, 9-to-5. There’s nothing “brutal” in his response. Snide, maybe. Immature, maybe. But brutal, hardly. In fact, your piss-poor malignant of the deceased Mr. Jobs is much more brutal. Go to your room, 9-to-5.


  16. What would Tim Cook have done?
    Hey! Have a good stay on Google, and take some Obamas to enjoy this weekend :)


  17. Lame. Is there a way to update the rss feed with bylines, so when It is Zac Hall posting something that sounds titillating I ‘ll know it isn’t?


  18. Hey @apollozac the only infamous thing here are your posts :)