Google in 2007: Super Afraid of That Little Company Called Facebook

The pending Silicon Valley wage-fixing settlement is a dud, but the upshot is a trove of private executive emails put into the public record. New court documents, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, show the leadership at Google in a fit over a very new rival.

Facebook in 2007 was still mostly a college kid phenomenon, but as a cool new startup, managed to lure talent away from Google. Rather than letting Google employees weigh a job offer from the upstart social network against tenure at the established search firm, the company instituted a drastic policy: employees approached by Facebook would receive "significantly" increased salary offers within one hour. The policy is confirmed in the above email from Eric Schmidt, where the incensed exec says he's "disgusted" that the existence of this counter-offer strategy has been leaked so quickly.

Deposition transcripts from Google co-founder Sergey Brin illuminate why Google was so quick to throw cash at poaching targets:

Google in 2007: Super Afraid of That Little Company Called Facebook

Google in 2007: Super Afraid of That Little Company Called Facebook

Google in 2007: Super Afraid of That Little Company Called Facebook

Brin speaks of the seductive power of startups, the "promise of quick riches," as if it ever went away.