It's no secret that BlackBerry has had a few high-profile departures from the organization over the past several months, but rumors that SVP of Software Sebastian Marineau-Mes was no longer working for the company have now turned out to somewhat accurate. The situation is a little bit convoluted and involves Apple, but a recently-posted Ontario Superior Court of Justice document offers a further look into the matter.
According to the documents, following discussions that began in September 2013, Apple offered Marineau-Mes the position of Vice President Core OS in December 2013. Marineau-Mes accepted the position and handed his formal resignation letter to BlackBerry on December 23rd. He indicated that he would likely be joining Apple in California in approximately two month's time, sparking an internal dispute between Marineau-Mes and BlackBerry.
Reason being, while Marineau-Mes was discussing the new position with Apple, he'd also signed a new contract with BlackBerry on September 27, 2013, promoting him to the position of Executive Vice-President, Platform Development. Although the promotion was not publicly disclosed, as part of the agreement Marineau-Mes was accountable to provide six months notice in the case of a resignation.
As there was no immediate, internal resolution on the matter, BlackBerry and Marineau-Mes headed to court to sort things out and in this case, the judge ruled in favor of BlackBerry. We reached out to BlackBerry for statement and they offered the following:
BlackBerry will not stand by while a former employee violates his employment contract. It is unfortunate that we had to take this step, but we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that employees honor the agreements they make with us. When we enter into an agreement with an employee, as we have with Mr. Marineau, we expect him to honor his commitment just as he would expect that we will honor ours. We are pleased that the court has endorsed our position and ruled that the employee contract and its terms are valid.
Marineau-Mes has rather lengthy history at BlackBerry working on BlackBerry 10 and the BlackBerry PlayBook as well as QNX and in 2012, won the Top Innovator in Embedded Design for Software award. He's also previously spoken out about innovations happening within BlackBerry noting that BlackBerry is innovating faster than Apple, Google. How this will all play out for his positions at either BlackBerry or Apple remains to be seen.