Microsoft-Facebook Tiff Over Ad Talent Raid Downgraded to "Disappointed" (With a Side of Settlement)
While Facebook should not be expecting big bouquets of love from its partner and investor Microsoft, at least it’s not going to be getting legal brickbats either.
According to sources close to the situation, the pair have settled a dispute over the Silicon Valley social networking site’s talent raid of Microsoft’s head of global ad sales, Carolyn Everson, for a similar job at Facebook.
In fact, Everson has already been at work for a week, sources said, after she agreed not to solicit a small group of advertising clients for a short period of time.
She is also barred from using any strategic information in her new Facebook job that she obtained while at Microsoft, sources said.
This kind of agreement is not uncommon in disputed job shifts and is also a far cry from a more stringent legal outcome, which might have benched her completely for some time.
But Everson is a veteran ad exec, having previously worked at Viacom’s MTV Networks. Thus, Microsoft could not have barred her from calling on advertisers she had known previous to her short employment there.
Still, the February hiring by Facebook came as a surprise to many at Microsoft, especially since Everson (pictured here) had been hired only last June, after a long search. In that time, she had become a high-profile presence at internal and external Microsoft events.
So, it’s clear the Everson hiring infuriated Microsoft execs, especially since the company regards Facebook as a close partner. Microsoft is a longtime investor too.
“We’re no longer angry,” said one source at Microsoft, about the cooling of tensions, “as much as disappointed.”
But key in the weighing of options at Microsoft is the obvious importance of keeping up good relations with Facebook. It is an important partnership, especially for its Bing search business, especially as an advantage over Google.