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Possible original source of new app discovery feature sues Apple
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MacNN Staff
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Jun 3, 2014, 08:08 AM
Mobile service recommendation company Hooked Media Group are claiming in a lawsuit filed in the county of Santa Clara that Apple's failed attempt to acquire it effectively ruined the company. The suit purports that one of Hooked Media's founding employees was hired by Apple, assisted the Cupertino manufacturer with a "deep tech dive" for company secrets, and destroyed records necessary for the company to do business on his way out.

According to The Recorder, the complaint alleges that one of Hooked Media's first employees, Chandraeskar Venkataraman, "capped off the scheme by leaving for Apple in the middle of the night, taking copies of Hooked Media's intellectual property with him, and deleting and/or otherwise removing computer files from Hooked Media's computer systems that were essential for Hooked Media to operate and to continue to do business with competitors of Apple, like HTC."

Venkataraman is accused of having unauthorized discussions with Apple's agent Venkat Sundaranatha. The two men had worked previously, and on Sundaranatha's orders, Venkataraman stood in the way of acquisition talks with anybody but Apple.

In August 2013, Apple formally informed Hooked Media that it would not be purchasing the company, but wanted to hire the engineering team for $4.5 million instead. A month later, the complaint alleges that Apple refused to honor the terms of the deal, and started with a 30 percent "finders fee" of each engineer's salary, which then dropped to 15 percent with further "negotiations" from Apple.

In November of 2013, two Hooked Media engineers signed with Apple. Venkataraman joined Apple in December. It is unknown what role the departed employees had to do with Apple's new app discovery engine in the iOS App Store's upcoming refresh. Apple has not yet responded to the suit.

( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jun 16, 2014 at 06:00 AM. )
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Jun 3, 2014, 10:29 AM
If the allegations prove true, you have to wonder why a company with as much money as Apple has would do something this stupid. That $4.5 million deal it is accused of reneging on is no bigger than a rounding off error in Apple's budget.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
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Jun 3, 2014, 12:50 PM
People and companies that have a lot of money didn't get there by spending money indisciminately or haphazardly, or ignoring "rounding off" errors in their budget.

What's a mere, insignificant blip on a financial report to you is, in reality, the exact type of detail that keeps Apple with loads of cash on-hand and above-and-beyond financially solvent. "Rich" people and companies are some of the biggest penny-pinchers around, and that's also one reason they're rich to begin with. You don't have money by giving money away -- even the pennies.

I highly suspect that those that constantly espouse, "Apple has SOOOO much money, they could just buy X company and Y company, and they don't have to worry about little dollars and pennies!" have never been (nor will ever be) a CFO or hold a position of significant financial responsibility within a company.
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Jun 3, 2014, 04:06 PM
Fiscal responsibility is an inadequate argument for unethical behavior (i.e., theft of intellectual property).
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Jun 3, 2014, 05:25 PM
You're absolutely correct, and I was not framing the explanation under the guise of a defense or attack on Apple nor its actions.

Rich people stay rich by being bad, rich people stay rich by being good, and they share penny-pinching in common.
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