Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Federal Judge Forces Apple, Google, Others to Face Antitrust Suit

A federal judge in California today ordered seven tech companies to face private antitrust lawsuit in which they are accused of adhering to secret agreements not to hire each others’ employees.

In a ruling that came down late Wednesday (see the opinion below), Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the existence of agreements between the various companies not to “cold call” employees of the other supports a “plausible inference” that the agreements were signed off at the highest levels by senior executives of each company.

Plaintiffs in the case, all former software engineers who have worked for the various companies, have claimed that the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, negotiating with Ed Colligan, the former CEO of Palm (now a unit of Hewlett-Packard), talked directly about the matter. Their complaint quotes Jobs as telling Colligan, “We must do whatever we can” to stop cold-calling efforts between the two companies.

The companies being sued are Apple, Intel, Adobe, Google, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar, a unit of Walt Disney. The complaint alleges that the companies conspired to make it harder for employees to move to different jobs between the companies, thus limiting their ability to earn higher salaries. The companies had sought to get the case thrown out.

You can read Judge Koh’s opinion below.

Poaching Case Ruling

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