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Steve Jobs and the art of the curt email

Jan 23, 2013

FORTUNE -- Steve Jobs' emails. Direct, pithy, and rare, they came to take on an oracular quality during his tenure as Apple's chief executive. His responses to users' requests and complaints about everything from the poor reception on some iPhone models to waterlogged MacBook Pros became mythic. "No" and "yep" were common responses to even the most in-depth questions. These epistles even spawned a book.

MORE: 29 stunning Apple surprises nobody saw coming

Now we get to take a look at a different set of terse Jobs emails, courtesy of The Verge. According to the site, former Palm CEO Edward Colligan claims Jobs threatened to sue the company if it did not agree to stop hiring Apple (aapl) employees. Recently released evidence seems to back up the accusation, showing the extent of Silicon Valley's no-hire agreements during the mid-2000s. (The website has a gallery of emails here.) Adobe (adbe), Apple, Google (goog), Intel (intc), and others are named in a civil lawsuit into such agreements. Employees are seeking class action status and damages from resulting lost wages.

From the site:

Palm wasn't the only target of Jobs's indignation. Google emails reveal the beginnings of the Apple CEO's "thermonuclear war" attitude, particularly in the above email to Eric Schmidt, in which Jobs demands Google's cellphone software group stop "relentlessly recruiting" in Apple's iPod group.

The blog's trove of emails is worth checking out.

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