Amazon.com has filed suit against Daniel Powers, the former vice president in charge of global sales for Amazon Web Services — alleging that his new job as Google’s director of cloud platform sales violates the non-compete provisions of his Amazon employment agreement and a severance deal in which Amazon paid him $325,000.
Citing the terms of those agreements, Amazon is seeking an injunction in King County Superior Court to prevent Powers “from engaging in any activities that directly or indirectly support any aspect of Google’s cloud computing business.”
Amazon alleges in the suit that Powers will be able to use confidential information gleaned from his time at Amazon to help Google compete against Amazon for existing and prospective customers. The suit highlights the fierce competition among Amazon, Google and other tech giants in the growing market for cloud computing.
According to the Amazon suit, Powers was an IBM veteran who learned the cloud computing business “top to bottom” after joining Amazon Web Services in 2010. In June 2012, however, the company “offered Powers a severance package and invited him to accept the package and resign, in lieu of termination,” according to the lawsuit.
The agreements set out a non-competition period of 18 months following the end of Powers’ employment, according to the Amazon complaint. The suit was filed Friday: Here’s the PDF.
In the suit, Amazon says it has been in touch with an attorney for Powers, who “argued that Powers would not be violating his obligations under the Noncompetition Agreement because he and Google had agreed on certain minimal limitations on his use of information and on his customer contacts.”
Non-compete clauses have repeatedly been found invalid in California, where Google is based. However, they have been generally allowed in Washington state if the terms are deemed reasonable. Last year, for example, a judge prevented a former Microsoft exec from taking a new job at Salesforce.com, after the Redmond company sued, citing a similar non-compete agreement.
GeekWire has sent messages to Powers, Google and Amazon seeking additional comment on the suit. We’ll update this post with more if we hear back from any of them.
Separately, Amazon has hired a former Sony Music executive as its new vice president of content acquisition and business development, according to an AllThingsD.com report this weekend.
[Thanks to Venkat Balasubramani for spotting this one.]
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