THE US IS INVESTIGATING the recruitment policies of technology giants to see if they violate antitrust laws.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Justice Department has opened an inquiry to explore the hiring practices of companies like Intel, Google, Apple and IBM.
The investigation stems from allegations that the companies have policies not to recruit each others' skilled staff. So a Google engineer, for example, can't get a better job at Apple. This is tantamount to agreeing to price fixing because, if true, it has the effect of keeping labour costs down.
The inquiry has been ongoing for a year and sources say that the US Justice Department believes antitrust violations have taken place. The WSJ said that the Justice Department is due to meet with some senior executives responsible for employment policies this week. However, it is keeping mum on the investigation and so far hasn't either confirmed or denied that the inquiry is taking place.
The information technology giants were invited to reply to press inquiries. Several point blank refused to do so, including Google and Apple, while IBM only responded that it is "collaborating with the government's inquiry."
Only Intel offered more in a response that said it believes it's practices comply with antitrust laws. "Since investigations of this nature are confidential, we will not comment on what the Department of Justice may or may not be doing," said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy. "However, we believe our hiring practices are lawful and don't harm competition," he said. µ