Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

When Good News Is Bad News: Google Reportedly Fires Raise Leaker

Some corporate memos are confidential.

And some memos are “confidential”–meaning there’s no real expectation that they’ll stay within the family.

You’d assume that Eric Schmidt’s memo to “Googlers” announcing big raises falls in the latter category. If that’s all Googlers, that’s some 23,300 people, so that’s pretty much the same thing as issuing a press release, right?

But Google thinks otherwise, says CNNMoney’s David Goldman. He reports that the company has fired an engineer who passed the information along to Business Insider yesterday:

Within hours, Google notified its staff that it had terminated the leaker, several sources told CNNMoney. A Google spokesman declined to comment on the issue, or on the memo.

I’ve gone ahead and asked Google for comment as well, but I’m not hopeful. (UPDATE: I can see the future! No comment from Google.) In the absence of one, I’ll speculate that Google was freaked out that the “leak” would cause it problems with Wall Street and/or the SEC.

But again, if that’s the case, that makes no sense–you can’t hand out big fat checks to 23,300 people and keep it quiet indefinitely.

And since the point of the raises is to keep Googlers happy in a hot job market–and presumably, to help recruit new Googlers–you’d think Google would want the “confidential” memo distributed. Right?

I gather that some of you agree with Google on this one. Since the company won’t talk, feel free to make their case for them in the comments below.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik