What will Charlie Bell, who has been an Amazon executive for a long time, do at Microsoft?
Maybe even Bell doesn’t know the exact answer to this question. According to the terms of the non-compete agreement signed by Bell and Amazon, Microsoft and Amazon are negotiating to determine the initial scope of Bell’s new role. According to unnamed sources cited by insider news websites.
Yes, we have seen this movie before, but this movie has a plot twist.
Bell is a senior executive of Amazon Web Services and was once considered a potential successor to Andy Jassy as AWS CEO-this makes his influence, experience and insight far more than many The influence, experience and insight of former AWS executives. Competition disputes.
He is also a member of Amazon’s senior leadership team, which gives him a broad understanding of Amazon’s strategy and more potential conflicts that Amazon can cite.
Before leaving earlier this month, Bell worked at Amazon for more than 23 years. The news that he was hired by Microsoft broke out on Wednesday afternoon.
Although it is natural for him to work in Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing department, he is listed in Microsoft’s employee roster as corporate vice president under the head of human resources Kathleen Hogan. CNBC reported. This may be a placeholder waiting for the outcome of the negotiations between Microsoft and Amazon. Neither company commented.
As we all know, the current Amazon CEO Jassy personally called for whether to implement the non-compete agreement when the executive left the AWS department. According to a court document previously filed in the non-competition lawsuit, Jassi told a senior executive who was about to leave that he “made such a decision based on specific circumstances.”
A non-compete agreement that is almost impossible to enforce in California is still allowed in Washington State. However, according to state laws passed in 2019, they cannot be applied to employees whose annual income is less than $100,000, and cannot exceed 18 months, among other restrictions.
This means that despite the new law, it is still possible to enforce a non-compete prohibition against senior managers such as Bell in Washington State.
However, Venkat Balasubramani, the attorney representing former AWS executive Gene Farrell in Amazon’s lawsuit filed by Amazon over its switch to Smartsheet in 2017, said that the fact that the state has narrowed the scope of the non-compete agreement may have more subtle effects.
“The Washington legislature has worked hard to narrow the scope of the non-compete prohibition, forcing employers to think twice when enforcing the non-competition prohibition,” Balasubramani said. “Although the regulation does not specifically address this situation… it is still a legislative statement supporting employee mobility. It contains some generally applicable clauses, such as the presumption that more than 18 months of non-competition is unreasonable.”
In a case last year, Amazon tried to prevent former AWS marketing executive Brian Hall from editing and summarizing the keynote and slides of the Google Cloud conference after he worked on a competitor’s cloud platform-calling this work “threatening immediately And cause irreparable harm to Amazon” because he understands its cloud plan.
Amazon reached a settlement with Hall a few weeks after filing the lawsuit, but did not disclose the terms.
Similarly, the company settled the dispute with Ferrer on undisclosed terms after negotiating with Ferrer on the limitation of its role.
Amazon said in a statement on the case at the time: “We tried to consider how to deal with our non-competition agreement very thoughtfully.” “We worked hard to find a solution that would protect Amazon and allow employees to accept new jobs – We rarely need to ask the court to intervene.”
As of Thursday afternoon, an inspection of King County court records showed that the company had not taken rare steps regarding Bell’s new Microsoft role.