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Probe targets hiring practices of Apple, others

updated 10:50 am EDT, Wed June 3, 2009

Justice Dept. Apple probe

The Justice Department is investigating the hiring strategies of some of America's largest high-tech corporations, according to the Washington Post. Companies involved in the probe include the likes of Apple, Google, Yahoo and Genentech, which are accused of making agreements to avoid recruiting from each other, thereby cementing their powerbase. Should allegations prove to be well-founded, the companies could be considered in violation of antitrust laws meant to ensure fair competition.

Sources contacted by the New York Times add that the Justice Department has been serving notices to at least some of the businesses, asking them to turn over "documents and information" related to the case.

The investigation may double the problems of Apple and Google, which are already being probed by the Federal Trade Commission. The companies may be in violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act, which in part stipulates that companies cannot share members of each others' directorates if the result is anti-competitive. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on the Apple board, while Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson serves on both the Apple and Google boards.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. rexray

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2002

    +3

    Mixed feelings

    I agree that the Justice Dept. shouldn't let any corporation get away with anti-competitive behavior. This kind of behavior artificially narrows the potential job market for employees of these companies. It would be nice, however, to see Justice go after the more egregious corporations guilty of anti-competitive behavior (hello Intel, Microsoft?).

  1. TomSawyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    0

    Wait a minute

    So companies can write into employees contracts a non-competitive clause, but if they close ranks to enforce them they violate antitrust laws?

    Secondly, WRT the Google/Apple antitrust issue, I fail to see an "anti-competitive" link as these two companies have widely disparate products/missions.

  1. Da Cajun

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2008

    -5

    Govt vs Talent

    Yup, the govt wants to get their incompetent fingers on the tech group - our only area of society containing folks having workable brains.

    Remember folks, there is a reason for government: it's a place where those incapable of accomplishment can find employment.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Re: wait a minute

    So companies can write into employees contracts a non-competitive clause, but if they close ranks to enforce them they violate antitrust laws?

    They aren't closing ranks to enforce anti-compete clauses, since such clauses aren't valid in CA (where a lot of these companies exist). Plus, that doesn't stop some companies from hiring them anyway.

    What this is about is Apple and Google (for example) saying "You leave my guys alone, and I'll leave your guys alone" which keeps competition, and thus wages, down on workers.

    Secondly, WRT the Google/Apple antitrust issue, I fail to see an "anti-competitive" link as these two companies have widely disparate products/missions.

    Well,
    (a) Its just an investigation, one of thousands done every year to make sure there is no anti-competitive link

    (b) I, for one, lost trust of corporations years ago, and, thus, prefer someone keeping an eye on them to make sure they're aren't conflicts that could cause issues, esp. for us stockholders.

    (c) Apple and Google are both in the burgeoning mobile phone/mobile OS business.

    (d) You say their products/missions are different, but are they different because they are different, or are they different because, with a Google person on Apple's board, Apple has steered clear of getting into any of Google's products. For all you know, the reason we don't have a YASE like "Apple Search!" or "iSearch" or whatever is because of the relationship.

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