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Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law

Steve Jobs Defied Convention and Perhaps the Law NYTimes com

If Steve Jobs were alive today, should he be in jail?

That’s the provocative question being debated in antitrust circles in the wake of revelations that Mr. Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who is deeply revered in Silicon Valley, was the driving force in a conspiracy to prevent competitors from poaching employees. Mr. Jobs seems never to have read, or may have chosen to ignore, the first paragraph of the Sherman Antitrust Act:

Every “conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce” is illegal, the act says. “Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine” or “by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments.”

Mr. Jobs “was a walking antitrust violation,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law and an expert in antitrust law. “I’m simply astounded by the risks he seemed willing to take.” 


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He believed what he was doing was more important than the law.

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