UPDATE: Round 1 goes to Amazon. A temporary order granted Monday night in Washington's King County Superior Court restricts Gene Farrell from working for Smartsheet, reports GeekWire. More legal proceedings are expected in the next two weeks.
- Amazon filed legal action against Gene Farrell, former vice president of AWS enterprise applications and EC2 Windows and the leader of its workplace tools division, last week, according to Geekwire.
- In the lawsuit, Amazon asked a judge to prevent Farrell from working for Smartsheet, a work management and automation solutions company. Amazon alleges Farrell violated his non-compete agreement, according to Geekwire.
- AWS said Smartsheet is one of its competitors, and said it would submit more information under seal to the courts "at the appropriate time," according to Amazon’s complaint. "Farrell has deep and detailed knowledge of the technical details of Amazon’s future product and service offerings, the business, and competitive considerations that drove the decisions to develop and deploy them, and the strategy for launching these new products."
Amazon does not currently have a product that competes directly with Smartsheet, so the lawsuit appears to indicate that Amazon may be working on a new product that would compete with Smartsheet. In the lawsuit, Amazon said the new products have not been publicly announced.
It’s not the first time rumors have surfaced about an Amazon collaboration tool. Reports that circulated earlier in the year indicated a potential product would include WorkMail and WorkDocs, in addition to Chime, a video conferencing service the company released in February.
AWS is already dominate in the enterprise, but the company may be looking to expand its market territory. Offering its own productivity suite could give AWS another avenue into the enterprise, where it currently rules the enterprise cloud space and potentially lead to the rise of AWS shops, similar to how companies start using entire suites of either Microsoft or Oracle products, for example. The workplace productivity market has seen huge demand in recent years, and Amazon likely sees it as a lucrative place to launch its own product.