Fwd: Crossgain Fires a Quarter of Its Employees

From: Robert S. Thau (rst@ai.mit.edu)
Date: Tue Jan 16 2001 - 09:26:39 PST

Rohit Khare writes:
> This is really sad and pathetic on MSFT's part, and an embarrassment
> for all concerned, including Benchmark. This is practically
> Justice-worthy, but probably not in a Bush administration... My best
> wishes to all who were involved, and that they may compete again --
> with all of us! -- on a level playing field... Rohit

To summarize: every employee of Crossgain (yet another software
startup working on web technology they won't talk about) who had
formerly worked at Microsoft was fired, with the possibility of being
rehired after their noncompetes were over. This includes the
cofounders and CEO.

IANAL, and I obviously haven't seen the non-compete agreements in
question, but this doesn't smell right. The general rule concerning
non-competes, as I understand it, is that they have to be narrowly
drawn --- a noncompete broad enough to effectively bar someone from
practicing their profession amounts to an indenture, and is therefore
void. Like most employment law, this is state law, and varies from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction --- but is there anyone in software who
*isn't* competing with Microsoft?


(If these folks were working on a project that had *started* within
Microsoft --- viz. the old rumors about the origin of the DG Nova ---
that would be different; but in that case, you'd expect trade secrets
to be at issue as well. Then again, the reporters simply might not
know about it if they were...).


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