Apple, Google, and others sign $324 million settlement for colluding not to hire employees

Several major Silicon Valley companies have reached a settlement with some 64,000 workers for allegedly colluding not to hire each other’s employees.

Apple, after adamantly denying that former CEO Steve Jobs made an agreement with Intel, Google, and Adobe brass not to poach employees, has agreed to settle out of court.

The lawsuit was enacted on behalf of Silicon Valley employees that accused the companies of conspiring to keep wages down and minimize their ability to find employment with the competition. Also revealed were allegations that Steve Jobs threatened Google exec Eric Schmidt after he had hired former Apple employees.

Nevertheless, the $324.5 million settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to the profits each of these companies makes, and is ultimately a smarter move than risking a prolonged hearing or trial that would have resulted in higher legal fees.

Michael Devine, one of the four named plaintiffs in the case, has raised an objection over the relatively small amount which the companies got away with – a far cry from the $9 billion in damages sought. US District Judge Lucy Koh, who has presided over several Apple vs. Samsung patent trials in the US, will preside over the accord in a hearing held June 19.



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