Actually it is not, all I said is the pay to pull someone out of a competitor is not what the person is worth or value of doing the job they do, it is the value of slowing your competitor down. To put numbers around it, if the engineer was making $50K at apple and Google offer him $200K to leave, they person is now not worth $200K nor is the job is doing has a market value of $200K. the $200K the cost Google is willing to pay to slow Apple down. The FTC is claim that company were trying to keep wages below the $50K which the real value of the job the person was doing when in fact they were agreeing not to drive salary up to the $200K mark. I see this happen personally, company try and recruit talent away and they offer them some big number and they come back to their current employer and say they were just offer X will they match it to stay. If the original company does match and the it get out to other employees they all get the bright idea of doing the same thing to inflate their pay and companies get into a situation of deciding to pay or let them go. I even send a particular nationality of engineer actually sit in the conference room and write on a white board how much they were getting paid, (forget some we junior engineer only been out of school for a few years and others had way more experience in terms of yrs and knowledge) and they all decide that since they were all engineers they should be paid the same pay just because they we doing similar work. Talk about causing problems since now the more experience people then demand more if they gave the newer people more money.
Trust me this was not about trying to keep people's wages below the market, it was to keep companies from activity recruiting their employees and driving wage up to take or keep the person. I work on one company and we hire a tour bus with big signs of it that said come on in with your resume we ready to hire and park the damn thing right outside our competitors builds in various areas of the country. Talk about some nasty legal letters.
So this is not new, but hell the government is going to make an example of all these companies, even those is nothing illegal about saying you agree not to activity recruit a person, you can not say they can not hire the person if they walk in your door on your own which it what looks like google did when they got Steve's nasty call, but steve's call is hearsay.
Actually if Google were to offer an engineer 200k that would be his market price. Just as if Chelsea offer 400k a week to Rooney that would be his price, even if Manchester United couldn't match it, even if they could only pay 200k a week, even if part of the reason to poach Rooney was to slow United down, as well as get a good player. Win win.
If you have guys who are leaving for higher money that's their market price. That's what the free market means. It's not just for executives and business men.