Non-compete agreements might get overlooked in all that paperwork you sign after accepting a shiny new job offer, but it looks like Amazon cares about them a lot: It’s currently suing a former employee over a breach.
Amazon is suing Zoltan Szabadi, a former strategic partnerships manager for its Amazon Web Services division, for allegedly violating his non-compete agreement by taking a job with Google Cloud Platform. (Hat tip to GeekWire for reporting today on the suit.)
While at Amazon, Szabadi worked with independent software vendors that could bring their software to Amazon’s cloud. Since May, he has been a reseller ecosystem lead on the Google Cloud Platform.
The case highlights the growing competition between the two companies’ public-cloud businesses.
Amazon has owned the infrastructure-as-a-service market for quite some time. But Google has quickly emerged as a cloud provider for Amazon to watch out for, cutting prices and introducing services at an impressive pace, even if customer acquisition has been a challenge for Google’s nascent Google Compute Engine. And Amazon has taken note.
The new lawsuit is an extension of that.
Simply put, it’s an argument over partners and customers that either company could potentially form a beneficial relationship with, and Amazon wants to keep Szabadi away from them for as long as possible to prevent Google from winning their business.
According to the document, Szabadi’s non-compete agreement states that he would not “accept or solicit business from any retail market sector, segment, or group that [Amazon] has solicited, targeted, or accepted business from prior to the Termination Date, or has actively planned, prior to the Termination Date, to solicit, target, or accept business from …”
The filing also states that Szabadi’s attorney is arguing he is not in violation because when he began work at Google, he and Google created a deal that precluded him from courting such prospective customers during the first six months of his employment. Amazon, however, argues that because that agreement covers only part of the originally agreed upon 18 months, Szabadi is still in violation.
This lawsuit was filed last Tuesday in Washington’s King County Superior Court, where non-compete agreements have done better than in California, Google’s home, where they have been found invalid.
Read Amazon’s legal complaint below.