INDUSTRY GIANTS Apple, Google and Intel face an antitrust lawsuit after a judge ruled that they illegally conspired not to hire each other's employees.
District Judge Lucy Koh, who yesterday ordered Apple and Samsung to sit around a table to discuss their patent infringement lawsuits, today told Apple, Google, Intel and four other firms that they will face a civil antitrust lawsuit over claims that they have an 'anti-poaching' policy.
Judge Koh said that the existence of "Do Not Cold Call" agreements "supports the plausible inference that the agreements were negotiated, reached, and policed at the highest levels" among the firms.
The firms were accused by five software engineers of keeping pay low and hindering job mobility within the information technology industry. California's unfair competition law forbids the existence of anti-poaching agreements between firms.
Perhaps the biggest show stopper came from then Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who wrote an email to then Google CEO Eric Schmidt saying, "I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this." Schmidt was also on Apple's board or directors at the time.
Schmidt then reportedly forwarded the email to various people within Google asking if someone could "get this stopped". Google's staffing director eventually replied saying that the person who had hired an ex-Apple staff member would be fired, adding, "Please extend my apologies as appropriate to Steve Jobs."
According to Joseph Saveri, one of the plaintiffs, Judge Koh's decision means that a June 2013 trial is still on the cards. µ