Double standard: Microsoft courting Yahoo employees

I just read Henry Blodget’s post about Microsoft going after Yahoo employees.

There is nothing wrong with that especially since Yahoo is having a tough time to say the least. And despite all of the challenges in front of Yahoo there are some fantastic people at that company.

Presumably Microsoft is going after great technical folks but they also need some new DNA at Microsoft when it comes to user experience, community, advertising and web entertainment.

Here is the thing though. There is a double standard going on and I really don’t like double-standards.

Microsoft and other companies in the state of Washington enforce the employee non-compete clause. California does not. So luckily those Yahoo folks that want to leave (or are being forced to leave) can join Microsoft or pursue any company for that matter.

That’s a good thing. California recognizes all the problems associated with non-competes so they aren’t enforced.

However, the reverse isn’t true. Microsoft employees cannot go whereever they want. They cannot start any company they want. That same restriction is true here in MA and NY and elsewhere.

I’ve written many times why I’m opposed to the non-compete clause because they aren’t fair, stifle innovation and are not helpful in the big picture.

But this double standard needs to be pointed out.

There are other double standards when it comes to the non-compete clause that I’ll save for a future post. For example, why do some investors force their founders & employees to sign a non-compete but that investor and future board member in your company isn’t signing a non-compete.

Something to think about.