Apple reaches settlement in Silicon Valley anti-poaching lawsuit [ux2]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
A major antitrust lawsuit accusing major technology companies, including Apple, of participating in an illegal hiring agreement won't proceed in court, as the accused parties have reached a settlement with the class who brought the complaint.

Jobs and Schmidt
Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt during the iPhone's introduction at MacWorld in 2007.


Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe all agreed to the out-of-court settlement, which was disclosed in court on Thursday, according to Reuters. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Had the settlement not been reached, trial was scheduled to start in May. The class-action complaint was brought forward on behalf of about 60,000 workers in Silicon Valley.

Earlier this month, it was suggested that Apple and others could pay a "blindingly high" $9 billion to settle the lawsuit. That's because there was a mountain of evidence appearing implicate the companies for participating in an alleged no-hire cartel.

The employees involved in the suit were seeking a payment of about $90,000 per person -- a considerable sum that they apparently felt confident about because of the strong evidence presented in the case. Some of the key evidence involved late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who placed a call to Google's Sergey Brin and threatened "war" over recruitment efforts from the rival company

Jobs also made similar requests of other top company execs like Edward Colligan, former CEO of erstwhile handset maker Palm, who refused to enter any such agreement, saying that it was "likely illegal." Apple was also revealed to have sent out an email identifying that Google employees were part of a "hands-off" list.

Apple and others made a last-ditch request to prevent the trial last month, but a judge denied their efforts and said the trial will proceed. The plaintiffs in the case were granted class status last October by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh. Since then, the number of plaintiffs have ballooned from some 64,000 past and present employees to six figures' worth of workers.

The U.S. Department of Justice leveled its own lawsuit regarding the matter after investigating Apple, Adobe, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar for the same anti-poaching measures. Like in this class-action suit, the defendants ultimately settled that case with the DOJ in 2010.

Update: In a tweet, Reuters court reporter Dan Levine cites sources as saying Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have agreed to pay $324 million as part of the settlement.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member
    Quote:


    Jobs and Schmidt


    How healthy Steve is looking in that photo!

    Okay... they settled anti-poaching.

    What if, Vic Gundotra goes now goes to Apple now via some other stupid companies... like how our Android guru Andy Rubin ended up in Google.

  • Reply 2 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    This is one of the few instances where I find Apple undeniably guilty of anticompetitive practices. I don't expect this to occur again under Tim Cook.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    This is one of the few instances where I find Apple undeniably guilty of anticompetitive practices. I don't expect this to occur again under Tim Cook.

    i stood there in the darkened room, shirtless and blurry-eyed, with my hands on my pajama-bottomed hips. i was seven. i had just caught my parents placing presents from santa under the tree. i looked at them scornfully and said "i don't expect this to occur again."

    then came easter.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Companies agreeing is how this all got started. Ironic that it is also how this finally ended.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,811member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    This is one of the few instances where I find Apple undeniably guilty of anticompetitive practices. I don't expect this to occur again under Tim Cook.

    Absolutely agree with this. I also expected this outcome as I imagine some others did.
    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/175655/silicon-valley-anti-poaching-suit-to-proceed-as-judge-denies-requests-from-apple-others#post_2506659
  • Reply 6 of 23
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member

    I would be very surprised to see any major changes come from this settlement.  This may not have all started with the current leaders of the companies involved, but it continued under thier leadership.  The 'pay ceilings' have already been set so they can easily raise them a touch and continue with business as usual.  Pandora's box has already been opened on this one and any further adjustments that may be needed will likely happen face to face as opposed to in writing.  I suspect that all the companies involved will be smarter then to leave such an evidence trail in the future.

  • Reply 7 of 23
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,303member
    "The employees involved in the suit were seeking a payment of about $90,000 per person"

    Fucking hilarious. Any one of these employees could have applied to any fucking company they wanted. The fact that they think they deserve an extra $90,000 each is stunning- very few of them were probably ever affected by this agreement in the first place. I guess they just fantasized that they would have been magically "poached" and received a much higher salary if this agreement wasn't in place- even if they were too fucking lazy or incompetent to even apply. Right.
  • Reply 8 of 23

    What the hell kind of attorney goes from an expected return of $90,000 per plaintiff to $3240? The attorneys will keep their fees and the plaintiffs will get $1600 each. What a waste of time when bad greedy attorneys screw their clients.

  • Reply 9 of 23
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    This is one of the few instances where I find Apple undeniably guilty of anticompetitive practices. I don't expect this to occur again under Tim Cook.

     

    I find many complaints about  Cook seemingly trace back to fanboyism. Some of them may be valid, but much of it is just a desire to live vicariously through a CEO. I always found the behavior to be ridiculous, in the same way certain people seem to think that Jobs spearheaded  every project and new product at Apple. Anyway he must have been aware of it at the time, but I sincerely hope he never initiates crap like this.

  • Reply 10 of 23
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,498member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

     

    How healthy Steve is looking in that photo!

    Okay... they settled anti-poaching.

    What if, Vic Gundotra goes now goes to Apple now via some other stupid companies... like how our Android guru Andy Rubin ended up in Google.


     

    We had a saying at NeXT and later Apple: ``Sun is no NeXT/Apple [substitute accordingly]'' and I assume unless you had worked prior at NeXT or Apple the same would apply with, ``Google is no Apple.''

  • Reply 11 of 23
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    This is one of the few instances where I find Apple undeniably guilty of anticompetitive practices. I don't expect this to occur again under Tim Cook.

     

    What is so undeniably about it? If the allegations are to be believed, the so called anti-poaching agreement only prevented companies from actively recruiting each others employees. I can see how employees would want to be actively recruited. Yet, how is a company like Apple supposed to come out with great products if they keep losing employees working on complicated projects over pouching. Not only does Apple and other companies have to finish complicated projects by finding replacement employees, catching those employees up to speed, but also worry about losing trade secrets as well. The problem is compounded by California's dislike of non-compete agreements. If companies like Apple could require essential employees to agree to employment for a specific period of time, or if they leave to promise not to compete against them, companies like Apple wouldn't have had to resort to this type of behaviour. 

  • Reply 12 of 23
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

     

    What the hell kind of attorney goes from an expected return of $90,000 per plaintiff to $3240? The attorneys will keep their fees and the plaintiffs will get $1600 each. What a waste of time when bad greedy attorneys screw their clients.


     

     

    You do realize the companies actually had a defense, and would have drawn this out in Court for years and years? 

  • Reply 13 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    tbell wrote: »
    Yet, how is a company like Apple supposed to come out with great products if they keep losing employees working on complicated projects over pouching.

    1) I can't defend any anti-competitive practices. By definition creating artificial barriers to a free market hurts someone. In this case it's the employee.

    2) If Apple doesn't want their employees to be poached they need to create incentives for them to stay. One such incentive is to pay them a wage that fits the market, not working with other companies to articulacy reduce wages.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    Yet, how is a company like Apple supposed to come out with great products if they keep losing employees working on complicated projects over pouching.

    Irrelevant as long as their competitors are subject to the same terms.  If it's a great job, they shouldn't need a non-compete agreement to minimize employee churn. You are essentially applying the Sally Struther's argument to one of the largest corporations in the world, and this amuses me.

  • Reply 15 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    hmm wrote: »
    You are essentially applying the Sally Struther's argument to one of the largest corporations in the world, and this amuses me.

    I know who she is and remember her television ads for both degrees and helping impoverished children but I will need some elucidation on the Sally Struther's Argument.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I know who she is and remember her television ads for both degrees and helping impoverished children but I will need some elucidation on the Sally Struther's Argument.



    It's a silly joke I make whenever someone is arguing for inappropriate sympathy. It's not meant to sound hostile or anything. I just find it slightly ridiculous when people argue that tech companies should be able to employ coercive methods to retain employees.

  • Reply 17 of 23
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,739member

    Typical class action case, ensures the lawyers get paid.

  • Reply 18 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,729member
    How many lawyers were there are how much did they get paid?
  • Reply 19 of 23
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    1) I can't defend any anti-competitive practices. By definition creating artificial barriers to a free market hurts someone. In this case it's the employee.

    2) If Apple doesn't want their employees to be poached they need to create incentives for them to stay. One such incentive is to pay them a wage that fits the market, not working with other companies to articulacy reduce wages.

    I on the other hand can't defend absolutes. The companies involved were being hurt largely by head hunters who on behalf of a certain company would target employees from certain companies for particular jobs. These employees were not activity seeking work at the companies at issue or they could have just applied on their own for posted positions. You apparently think companies should be forced to actively poach other companies employees, which represents another type of constraint all together. Some companies are partners and it is in their interest to not jeopardize those partnerships by actively targeting their partners employees. Yet that is what you are advocating a system that requires companies against their will to actively target employees from friend and foe alike.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    hmm wrote: »

    It's a silly joke I make whenever someone is arguing for inappropriate sympathy. It's not meant to sound hostile or anything. I just find it slightly ridiculous when people argue that tech companies should be able to employ coercive methods to retain employees.

    I find it silly that some people seem to think it nefarious for partners to agree not to actively target each other's employees. I also fail to see how employees were harmed. If they were unhappy where they worked, they could do what most people do, look for advertised positions and apply for them.

    Non-compete agreements are not part of the at issue matter, but I am not opposed to them provided they are only used for in certain situations and are negotiated fairly.
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