Silicon Valley tech giant Apple is being accused of monitoring a former executive’s private messages in order to build a breach of contract case against him.
CNBC reports that a former Apple executive has accused the Silicon Valley tech giant of illegally collecting private text messages from his iPhone before firing him for breach of contract. The former executive is Gerard Williams, who led the design of the processing chips running the company’s mobile devices. Williams recently left Apple after nine years to head the server chip start-up Nuvia.
Nuvia, which is building silicon chips for data centers, revealed in November that it had secured $53 million in funding. In August, Apple filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Williams alleging that an intellectual property agreement that he had signed prevented him from planning or engaging in business activities that could compete with it. Apple argues in a lawsuit filed in Santa Clara Superior Court in California that Williams’ work with Nuvia was competitive to the company as he hired “numerous Apple engineers” away from the tech giant.
Williams argues that Tim Cook’s company illegally collected text messages between him and other employees. The lawsuit states:
Apple, an early beneficiary of the creative forces that formed and continue to drive Silicon Valley, has filed this lawsuit in a desperate effort to shut down lawful employment by a former employee. To further intimidate any current Apple employee who might dare consider leaving Apple, Apple’s complaint shows that it is monitoring and examining its employees’ phone records and text messages, in a stunning and disquieting invasion of privacy.
Apple argues that Williams has used the experience he gained while working at the tech firm to “start a competing company leveraging the very technology the director was working on.” Apple is seeking injunctions and punitive damages against Williams alleging a breach of contract and breach of duty of loyalty.