Amazon drops non-compete lawsuit against former exec who went to work for Smartsheet


Gene Farrell, VP at Smartsheet


Gene Farrell gets to resume his role as SVP at Smartsheet.

Looks like Smartsheet gets to keep its new hire.


Amazon has dropped its suit against Gene Farrell, a former executive at its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division who recently took a job with Smartsheet. The e-commerce giant had charged that Farrell has violated his non-compete agreement with Amazon by going to work with the cloud-based project-management software provider.

Amazon dismissed the suit after Farrell and Smartsheet agreed to some "temporary restrictions" on his role at the company, Smartsheet said in a statement.

"We are pleased to have Gene back on the team as we continue to focus on serving our customers and growing our business," the company said.

Farrell's new role is Smartsheet's senior vice president of product.


The two sides were supposed to take part in a court hearing on Friday as part of the lawsuit filed by Amazon on June 9. Amazon had alleged that Farrell - who formerly oversaw enterprise applications at AWS - had violated his non-compete agreement by taking a position at Smartsheet.

Amazon argued that because AWS offers cloud-based productivity products for businesses, Farrell couldn't work there without causing "irreparable harm to Amazon, including allowing Smartsheet to develop and grow its own programs and services with the benefit of AWS's confidential information."

Smartsheet is a customer of AWS, although the company wouldn't comment on whether or not it will stick with Amazon's cloud service for the long haul.

AWS is best known for providing on-demand cloud computing services to companies big and small. It's the service behind Netflix, which means if you're streaming "Orange is the New Black" or "House of Cards" from your personal computer, it's probably thanks to the megapower of Amazon.

But AWS has also dived into cloud-based productivity products like virtual desktops and corporate email. According to the lawsuit, Farrell was "deeply involved" in the development of such products.


Smartsheet maintained throughout the dispute that it's not in competition with Amazon's software offerings.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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