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Judge orders Apple CEO Tim Cook to be questioned in anti-poaching case

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
California Judge Lucy Koh on Thursday ordered Apple chief executive Tim Cook to four hours of questioning in relation to an anti-poaching case leveled against five large tech companies, including Google and Intel.

Cook


According to in-court reports from Reuters, the anti-poaching case involves five former employees of tech industry heavyweights Apple, Google, Intel and others, who filed a civil suit alleging the companies illegally instituted anti-poaching measures.

Judge Koh said in Thursday's hearing that internal emails showed unnamed company executives reached a consensus that an agreement to not poach each other's workers would amount to financial gains. The jurist explained that top executives agreed on an approach to hiring employees collectively would be more beneficial than negotiating with individual workers.

It is currently being decided whether the suit should be classified as a class action, though Judge Koh has yet to issue a ruling on the matter. As for the civil suit, attorneys representing the five plaintiffs estimated damages could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Apple counsel argued that Cook was not involved in the anti-poaching allegations as he was the company's chief operating officer at the time, but Judge Koh said he will still be subject to a deposition.

"I find it hard to believe a COO would have no say over salary and compensation for all employees," Koh said.

In addition to Cook, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will also be questioned on Feb. 20, while top ranking officials from the other defendants, including Intel's Paul Otellini, are also slated to take part in upcoming depositions.

Apple, along with six other defendants, attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed in April 2012, but Judge Koh refused, citing a high probability of collusion. As a result of the suit it came to light that late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs sent an email to Google's Schmidt in 2007, asking the executive to stop poaching his employees.

It was discovered in 2009 that Apple and Google had an unofficial agreement to not poach each other's employees, a deal that resulted in a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation. Apple, Google, Pixar, Intel, Adobe and Intuit all agreed to a settlement in 2010 that blocked the companies from any further anti-poaching deals.
post #2 of 20

This just in!  The next iPhone back will be made entirely of ivory!  Competitors will never be able to copy it, but Apple will only be able to make 1,000 in the first quarter.

post #3 of 20

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #4 of 20

What a pain in the ass to be a CEO nowadays. 

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by megatrick View Post

What a pain in the ass to be a CEO nowadays. 

Yeah, it's hardly even worth having enough money to put the next 10 generations of your family in mansions and through college 1rolleyes.gif

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Yeah, it's hardly even worth having enough money to put the next 10 generations of your family in mansions and through college 1rolleyes.gif

I think you're reading his comment incorrectly. He has a point about these foolish dispositions. We've seen it before with Jobs. I think a lot of these situations wouldn't have happened it hadn't been Apple that was being disposed. Jobs and Cook (among others) are CEO celebrities and I think some judges just want to exploit to get their name in print next to them.

This bot has been removed from circulation due to a malfunctioning morality chip.

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This bot has been removed from circulation due to a malfunctioning morality chip.

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post #7 of 20
Just another standard Apple week.

Not like yours or mine...

Monday = Mediation Day
Tuesday = Trial Day
Wednesday = Witness Day
Thursday = Testimony Day
Friday = Fee Day
Saturday = Sentence Day
Sunday = Sanction Day
Pot is legal in North Korea.
That explains a considerable amount.

"The United States will respond proportionally at a place and time we choose..."
Reply
Pot is legal in North Korea.
That explains a considerable amount.

"The United States will respond proportionally at a place and time we choose..."
Reply
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

...

 

Sigh! I was wondering what happened to 'whacky tie day'

post #9 of 20
Seriously, Koh? What an effin waste of time and taxpayer money. Even Samesung thinks this is a frivolous lawsuit.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I think you're reading his comment incorrectly. He has a point about these foolish dispositions. We've seen it before with Jobs. I think a lot of these situations wouldn't have happened it hadn't been Apple that was being disposed. Jobs and Cook (among others) are CEO celebrities and I think some judges just want to exploit to get their name in print next to them.

No, it's pretty common in cases like this to bring in the big boss if the accusations are that they are responsible for the situation in question, which Cook, Schultz, and Otellini are. I think the real misconception is that these celebrity CEOs are above litigation of this sort, and have "people" who handle it for them.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post

Sigh! I was wondering what happened to 'whacky tie day'

 

😊


Edited by GTR - 1/18/13 at 7:16pm
Pot is legal in North Korea.
That explains a considerable amount.

"The United States will respond proportionally at a place and time we choose..."
Reply
Pot is legal in North Korea.
That explains a considerable amount.

"The United States will respond proportionally at a place and time we choose..."
Reply
post #12 of 20
As a normal citizen you have the right to talk to other people and make agreements with them. I don't think this should change just because you start a company. Let all the big players collude, it will just make it easier for some startup with a cool hi-tech idea to poach all the best people.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

As a normal citizen you have the right to talk to other people and make agreements with them. I don't think this should change just because you start a company. Let all the big players collude, it will just make it easier for some startup with a cool hi-tech idea to poach all the best people.

 

The lawsuit is over a conspiracy between Apple, Adobe Systems, Google, Pixar, Intel, and Intuit to artificially hold salaries down.

 

That's a lot of employees. 

 

People often forget that it's not "companies" that create things... it's the talented individual developers and engineers who do.   In fact, often it's the same few developers who move from company to company, taking their best  ideas each time.  Offering better pay is a time-honored way to attract these gurus (along with being able to work on a particular project or idea).

 

Look at Apple as a good example.  Early on, they poached developers from Xerox and other facilities.  Later, Jobs stole all the best Apple employees to create NeXT.  He was even sued over it by Apple.   Much later, we see Apple employees being hired by Palm, Google, Microsoft.   Heck, just last week, the headines were that "Apple poaches Xerox CFO".

 

Being poached was and is core to Silicon Valley's success.   It not only rewards talent, but the movement also seeds good ideas among companies until they take hold.


Edited by KDarling - 1/18/13 at 5:00am
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

No, it's pretty common in cases like this to bring in the big boss if the accusations are that they are responsible for the situation in question, which Cook, Schultz, and Otellini are. I think the real misconception is that these celebrity CEOs are above litigation of this sort, and have "people" who handle it for them.

Exactly. The allegations are very serious and the claim is that top executives were involved in collusion. It is entirely reasonable that they should be questioned.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

As a normal citizen you have the right to talk to other people and make agreements with them. I don't think this should change just because you start a company. Let all the big players collude, it will just make it easier for some startup with a cool hi-tech idea to poach all the best people.

You're completely mistaken. The rules are no different for you as an individual. You could not collude with Intel to keep salaries down any more than Apple or anyone else could. That type of collusion is illegal regardless of who does it. It's just less likely to happen with an individual than with a company who has thousands of employees.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

As a normal citizen you have the right to talk to other people and make agreements with them. I don't think this should change just because you start a company. Let all the big players collude, it will just make it easier for some startup with a cool hi-tech idea to poach all the best people.

 

When it came to allegations of price fixing, everyone was angry. They should be angrier about this. Anti-poaching agreements are partly an attempt to limit salaries. If they all agreed to it, I hope it bites them in their respective asses.

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I think you're reading his comment incorrectly. He has a point about these foolish dispositions. We've seen it before with Jobs. I think a lot of these situations wouldn't have happened it hadn't been Apple that was being disposed. Jobs and Cook (among others) are CEO celebrities and I think some judges just want to exploit to get their name in print next to them.

The other players are being deposed too, not just Cook. Eric Schmidt got his court notice to testify as has Intel head honcho Paul Otellini

melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #17 of 20

Poaching is to approach an individual and offer a better package so they leave their current employment for yours.

There was nothing stopping these people simply applying for available jobs elsewhere as offering an interested candidate a job for the advertised rate of pay is not poaching.

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

There was nothing stopping these people simply applying for available jobs elsewhere as offering an interested candidate a job for the advertised rate of pay is not poaching.

 

Well, first off, employees won't know about all the jobs available.   For examples, companies don't usually advertise that they need a new CFO, or that they need engineers to work on say, a new super secret phone (*).

 

Worse, if you apply elsewhere and your bosses find out, you could get fired... and perhaps no one else actually wants you at your old pay!  Ouch.

 

Poaching lets the employee know AHEAD of time that they are wanted and can safely leave.   That's critical.  Also, if your boss finds out, it's okay because it's not YOUR fault that you were approached, so your job is safe.   In fact, it often leads to a raise as a counter-offer!

 

(*)  Many such jobs are found only through connections.  In other words, a friend who knows about a job need and recommends that HR contact you.  Come to think of it, over the past 35 years I've never worked in a job that I found in an ad.   All job offers have come to me through various connections before being advertised.   I suspect a lot of developers have been in the same boat.


Edited by KDarling - 1/18/13 at 6:25pm
post #19 of 20

Besides screwing their customers and competitors, Apple screwed their own employees.

No matter what type of media...movies, music, books, photos and web pages

look better and sound better on the Kindle Fire HD and HDX than any iPad

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No matter what type of media...movies, music, books, photos and web pages

look better and sound better on the Kindle Fire HD and HDX than any iPad

Reply
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell View Post

Besides screwing their customers and competitors, Apple screwed their own employees.

 

As did Adobe Systems, Google, Pixar, Intel, and Intuit.   It took more than one company for the deal to work.

 

What's interesting in this case is that the deal itself was apparently done at the CEO level, at least between Apple and Google, starting with Jobs asking Schmidt to ask Google to back off trying to hire one of his employees.

 

Usually such people are smarter than to be directly involved in such collusion.

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