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Employee Anti-Poaching Agreements May Extend Far Beyond Apple and Google

Apple, Google and five other large technology companies were caught signing "no solicitation" agreements that prevented the companies from trying to hire away each others' employees. Court documents newly obtained by Pando Daily suggest these anti-poaching agreements extend far beyond this Silicon Valley seven.

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According to these documents, over a dozen companies and as many as one million employees may have been affected by these secret hiring agreements.
Confidential internal Google and Apple memos, buried within piles of court dockets and reviewed by PandoDaily, clearly show that what began as a secret cartel agreement between Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Eric Schmidt to illegally fix the labor market for hi-tech workers, expanded within a few years to include companies ranging from Dell, IBM, eBay and Microsoft, to Comcast, Clear Channel, Dreamworks, and London-based public relations behemoth WPP. All told, the combined workforces of the companies involved totals well over a million employees.
Investigation into these wage-fixing deals focused on Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar, but other businesses such as NVIDIA, British cable company Virgin Media and even recruiting agencies were caught up in this net. Some of these other companies did not sign reciprocal non-solicitation agreements, but, instead, were added by Google and others to "Do Not Cold Call" or similar "Sensitive" company lists.

Google and Apple allegedly signed one of the first wage-fixing agreements in early 2005, with other companies following suit. The discovery of these agreements in 2009 initiated a Department of Justice investigation that resulted in the dissolution of these restrictive hiring deals. A subsequent class-action civil suit was filed in 2011 and is expected to go to trial in May.

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8 months ago
Emblematic of the corporate age we're living in. At the same time that people who have a hard time finding jobs are being told to "go back to school and get a skill that's in demand", the people that have those "in demand" skills are having their wages systematically suppressed by some of the world's largest and most profitable companies.
Rating: 18 Votes
8 months ago
Just imagine what wages could have been if they weren't being held artificially low by these agreements...
Rating: 18 Votes
8 months ago
This wouldn't have happened if Steve was still... oh, wait.
Rating: 14 Votes
8 months ago
Why on earth does this kind of thing take 5 YEARS to go to trial?
Rating: 14 Votes
8 months ago

I don't get all bent out if shape on this honestly. Is it not logical that the highest net worth company pay it's major employees the highest? They all helped make it the highest net worth company and are rewarded for it. I dunno, maybe I'm crazy...


There's "paying major employees the highest", and then there's paying them such ungodly sums at the expense of hundreds or thousands of lower level engineers. It's pretty hard to justify paying those amounts to the high profile execs and then turn into Scrooge McDuck when it's time to pay others. It's analogous to the individual who buys a $700 iPhone and then hems and haws whether that $1.99 is worth it or should wait for it to go free.
Rating: 11 Votes
8 months ago

Just imagine what wages could have been if they weren't being held artificially low by these agreements...


Meanwhile no such wage ceiling at the executive level. Truly vomit-worthy.
http://www.macrumors.com/2014/03/05/apple-executive-bonuses/
http://www.macrumors.com/2013/07/26/apple-cfo-peter-oppenheimer-sells-16-4-million-in-aapl-stock/
http://www.macrumors.com/2013/06/26/jeff-williams-and-bruce-sewell-cash-in-apple-stock-worth-nearly-15-million/
http://www.macrumors.com/2013/08/27/tim-cook-and-eddy-cue-exercise-stock-options-cue-nets-over-12-million/
http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/15/apple-executives-dominate-highest-paid-list-among-sp-500-companies/
Rating: 10 Votes
8 months ago
Having spent the bulk of my career working and living in the Silicon Valley, this type of anti-poaching tactic was tried back in the the 1980's as well.

It was quite common for a sought-after Valley employees to jump companies every 2 years or so, and with it, get a bump in salary of 15-25% or more. Companies tired to stop this job hopping back then but to no avail. And I say 'why the hell not let my services go to the highest bider"? I personally have no issue with it. If one believes in capitalism and free trade, and the Valley is ground zero for people with those beliefs, then this is just an extension of that. Last I checked, the Execs of the companies in question practice that philosophy, right? And the Execs of those same companies get golden parachutes, massive bonus packages and other perks, as well, so, as they say, whats good for the goose....


An addendum: I totally forgot about that fact that about 20 years ago, Oracle, Sybase and Ingess were poaching each other's talent on a regular basis and it was really messy. I believe Oracle and Sybase's HQs were about a mile apart and Ingress was across the Bay about 15 miles away. This anti-poaching story is not a new one and I for one believe it will be retold in the future if the Bay Area continues to be the largest technology talent hub in the world.
Rating: 7 Votes
8 months ago

Am I the only one who feels like this is a good thing? Because it seems like it is.
If we have these companies snatching away these valuable assets, progress could be severely hindered. Just look at what impact Jony I've had on the look of iOS alone. Now forstal wasn't hired by another company, but imagine of now Ive got picked up by google somehow. Things would go bad really fast.
It has it's disadvantages of course, but I see things getting way worse it they didn't do this.


Whenever I see someone side with employers on these topics, I am flabbergasted. Of course, it could potentially hurt progress. However, I am not aware of any real issue with tech companies hurting in the current environment. They all seem to be doing quite well. If anything, they keep complaining that there is not enough talent to hire. ANY attempt by a company to limit the rights of its workers is not ok. These companies are just trying to benefit themselves at the expense of the employees.
Rating: 6 Votes
8 months ago

Enough already. It's being handled.

Does anyone believe the employees were paid less because the companies agreed not to poach another company's employees? It would seem that an underpaid employee would have sought employment elsewhere.

Those anti-poaching agreements didn't prevent an employee from seeking employment elsewhere.


That's naive in the extreme. True, it didn't prevent them from looking. It just prevented them from actually being hired. If you can't go elsewhere you don't have much leverage to ask for a raise, do you? When no employees can seek (and achieve) higher pay elsewhere the average for the entire market is artificially low, so that even new employees (to that market) get ripped off. And then, because of the sizes of these companies multiple markets are affected.
Rating: 5 Votes
8 months ago

Enough already. It's being handled.

Does anyone believe the employees were paid less because the companies agreed not to poach another company's employees? It would seem that an underpaid employee would have sought employment elsewhere.

Those anti-poaching agreements didn't prevent an employee from seeking employment elsewhere.


That is exacty what it means.

If I signed a anti-poaching agreement, I still wouldn't hire somene simply because they came to me. Even the appearence of poaching would open my company to losing my top people.

Therefore these employee wouldn't have anywhere to go or use as leverage for a raise. This would keep the salaries artifically low for these types of positions.
Rating: 4 Votes

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