Strange to have a court of law step in and tell someone what he can and cannot do at work. But that's exactly the case with new Hewlett-Packard Executive Vice President David Donatelli, who last month accepted his new job after serving EMC well for a long time as a high-level storage exec.
Donatelli, who helped lead EMC to record sales in more than 10 years in Hopkinton, Mass., was asked to oversee HP's storage, server and networking businesses.
A California court ruled June 2 that, for one full year, Donatelli cannot run the HP StorageWorks division as part of his new responsibilities in Palo Alto. He can, however, work with his servers and networking folks in the meantime.
This is all due to a non-compete clause in the contract he signed with EMC. OK, well, a contract is binding, he's over 21 and he knew what he was doing when he accepted those terms. Not a hard legal ruling for the court to make.
While Donatelli is in storage drydock, longime storage executive Dave Roberson will continue to run StorageWorks and report to Ann Livermore, HP's Technology Solutions Group EVP and chief saleswoman for HP data center equipment.
However, there is still something that bothers The Station about all this.
In the meantime, how is EMC -- or anybody else -- going to make sure Donatelli is not talking about storage during the workday? If the topic comes up during a sales call, does he leave the room, or put his phone on mute? Does he hide his eyes and cover his ears when "storage" is mentioned in a meeting?
Even if he does engage in such awful goings-on, what in heck in EMC going to do, sue him? Sue HP? What proof will they have? Sheesh.
Be warned, David: Watch out for the Storage Talk Police. They might be peeping over your shoulder right now. Oh, wait -- turn away, Dave. You probably shouldn't even be reading THIS!