Amazon Drops Lawsuit Against Former AWS Executive

Boy, that was fast! Amazon has settled the issue of the former AWS executive who was barred from working at Smartsheet. Gene Farrell is now back on the job after the legal matter was resolved.

According to the details provided of the lawsuit, the retail giant alleged that the former vice president at Amazon Web Services had violated a non-compete agreement when he joined Smartsheet, a work management software firm based in the Seattle area.

It seems that both Amazon and Smartsheet came to an agreement by placing temporary restrictions on the scope of the new role.

The statement released by Amazon:

“We try to be very thoughtful about how we deal with our non-compete agreements. We work hard to find a resolution that both protects Amazon and enables employees to take new jobs – it’s rare that we have to ask a court to step in. In this particular instance, we were‎ forced to resolve in court. Once we prevailed in court, we were able to reach an agreement with Smartsheet that placed temporary restrictions on the scope of Gene’s role at Smartsheet consistent with his agreement with Amazon.”

So basically, with this new agreement in place, Amazon has decided to drop the suit.

Gene Farrell was the vice president of enterprise applications EC2 Windows at Amazon Web Services before he joined Smartsheet as senior vice president of product.

Nevertheless, the Amazon lawsuit was enough to stir outrage among the startup community, who saw this as bullying tactic from a larger company. The legal proceedings were all the more baffling because Amazon currently does not have a product on the market that directly competes with Smartsheet.

Redacted portions of the suit, however, hinted at plans to launch a competing product.

Perhaps that is the biggest takeaway from this episode.