Like smoke over a battlefield, a shadow has been cast over Google's moment in the spotlight this week. PayPal and eBay opened fire on the GOOG apparently hours after the company announced its breakthrough new product Google Wallet, a mobile payment system that runs off of Android. With it, Larry Page and friends hope to wedge themselves into an estimated trillion dollar pie for mobile payments. But according to PayPal, the longtime leader in the online payment business, and eBay, its parent company, Google is weaseling their way in, greased by a trove of trade secrets provided by recently hired executives Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tilenius. The two jumped ship at PayPal and eBay respectively in order to help Google reinvent their mobile commerce strategy and allegedly took all kinds of privileged information with them.
Big companies suing former employees is not a new idea, but as Om Malik argues, PayPal isn't just doing it out of spite. Osama Beider, the real target in the litigation attack, worked at PayPal almost from the beginning, and before Page wooed him over the Google with a seductive seven-figure salary package, many insiders believed Beider would ultimately take over the division. After all, his latest project at PayPal working on a new strategy for point-of-sale transactions and mobile payments was poised to lead the company's charge into a new, not-just-online era. (They're announcing a major new product very soon--it's not a coincidence.) Reports Reuters on that strategy, "PayPal and Google worked closely together for three years until this year on developing a commercial deal where PayPal would serve as a payment option for mobile application purchases on Google's Android phones." Beider fled PayPal for Google in the final days of negotiating a joint product launch but not before transferring up-to-date, top secret documents onto his personal computer, the current lawsuit claims.