“I regret to inform you that Mark Jen was fired from Google on Friday, January 28th. I don’t have any details, but I can tell you that he was quietly let go. An e-mail was sent out to the entire company, letting us know that the matter many had written to management expressing their concerns about, had now been taken care of. I initially thought that this meant that Mark had been told to be more careful about discussing company financials, but it soon became apparent that Mark had left the company. I can only assume that his silence since that date means that they either threatened him or cut him a sweet severance deal. Whatever happened, it’s a sad day when you can’t speak openly about both the good and bad at your chosen place of work without getting silenced.”
I cannot yet confirm above is true or false. It doesn’t sound completely unlikely, considering Mark Jen had been openly criticizing Google Inc. in his blog Ninetyninezeros (“Life @ Google from the inside”), as uncovered here last month.
If Mark was fired, would it be a wrong move by Google? I would say this depends on the details, most importantly, Mark’s contract. If he signed a non-disclosure agreement of any sort, then he shouldn’t have openly spoken about work details. Other Google bloggers seem to handle their work space a little more confidently and do get along fine with their bosses.
It’s another question whether or not this very open blog would have benefited Google’s public image. For example many believe Microsoft’s blogger Robert Scoble has done good things for the company image. And last month, some already applauded Google’s move to handle the Mark Jen issue so relaxed (only certain financial details had to be removed, but otherwise, Mark’s blog stayed intact). The same people might now not look at this so optimistic anymore.
Update: It has been confirmed to me by Google Mark Jen is indeed no longer an employee at Google.
Update 2: Jeremy Zawodny of Yahoo had a talk with Mark Jen and says: “Yes, he was fired from Google. It was directly related to his blog.”
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