BlackBerry sued software chief to stop him leaving for Apple
Court documents show Sebastian Marineau-Mes planned to join Apple as head of its core OS team
BlackBerry Ltd. sued one of its top executives to stop him from jumping ship and joining Apple, keeping him stuck at the smartphone maker until June, court documents show.
Sebastian Marineau-Mes, the senior vice-president of the company's software division, had been in talks to leave the company for months and was offered the position at Apple of vice-president, core OS. He accepted the offer, and gave two months notice to BlackBerry.
But the Ontario Superior Court has ordered Marineau-Mes to stay at BlackBerry until June, as his contract requires him to give six months' notice.
He signed the contract in October of last year, to be vice-president of core OS, in the middle of an exceptionally turbulent time at BlackBerry. The company was also undergoing a promotion freeze, so the new title was not announced publicly.
In court, Marineau-Mes argued this effectively killed his promotion, and fought to have the contract declared invalid. The court, however, sided with BlackBerry.
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Marineau-Mes said in court that he has been on paid vacation since January.
BlackBerry said it needed to have Marineau-Mes 'available,' but it's not clear whether the company would actually call on him, or if it is just a reason to keep him away from Apple headquarters in California.
Marineau-Mes was a longtime employee at QNX Software, and joined BlackBerry when the smartphone maker bought QNX in 2010.
It's a glimpse inside the troubled smartphone maker, which is struggling to save itself.
"It is unfortunate that we had to take this step, but we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that employees honour the agreements they make with us," a BlackBerry spokesperson said in a statement.