updated 05:30 pm EDT, Fri September 24, 2010
DOJ reaches poaching settlement with Apple, Google
The Department of Justice today reached a settlement with several technology firms to end anti-poaching job deals between each other. Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit and Pixar have agreed to end reportedly anti-competitive deals that prevented them from recruiting each other's staff. Companies will be required to allow "cold calls" and other active hiring attempts for at least five years and will have to institute "compliance measures" to make sure the ruling is enforced.
Apple was singled out as having made most of the connections as it had put Adobe, Google and Pixar on its "Do Not Call" lists starting from 2006 and had reciprocal deals from the involved companies. Google had also made similar arrangements with Intel and Intuit.
Leaks from the settlement negotiations had the companies arguing that they had needed deals to safely work on projects without worrying about losing key employees. Until Apple and Google began to feud over Android, the two regularly worked closely on iPhone features and on working Google services like YouTube into desktop apps such as iMovie. Pixar didn't work directly with Apple but had been run by Apple's Steve Jobs for much of its life; he still sits on its board.
DOJ officials rejected such claims as ultimately hurting employees. The option of getting direct recruitment leads to salary competitions and better chances at a career path, the agency said. Many of the deals were far too broad to cover specific projects or periods and extended beyond just collaboration.
No financial penalties were mentioned as part of the settlement.