Jun 9, 2020 - Technology

Amazon sues Google over hire of former AWS executive

Amazon is suing Google over its hiring of Brian Hall, a former AWS marketing executive, to serve as a VP of marketing for Google Cloud, citing a non-compete clause in Hall's contract.

The big picture: The move speaks to the level of competition between Amazon and Google — as well as the fact that Washington state still allows some non-compete agreements, while the clauses are generally unenforceable in California.

Details:

  • In its suit, Amazon is seeking to enforce an 18-month non-compete provision that Hall signed when he joined the company and asking a King County, Washington, court to issue an injunction preventing Hall from joining Google.
  • In his response, Hall said communications with Amazon had led him to believe the company would not enforce the non-compete provision and asked the court to declare the clause unenforceable.
  • Hall stopped working at Amazon in February and his last official day was in March. He agreed to join Google in April, according to court papers.

Context: The move comes as tech companies are widening the types of jobs in which they try to enforce non-compete agreements.

  • Amazon previously sued over an AWS sales executive who joined Google.
  • IBM also turned to the courts, suing when its chief diversity officer went to Microsoft, though the dispute was later settled, with the executive joining Microsoft after a delay.
  • A Google representative declined to comment on the suit, and an Amazon representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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