Google, Apple, Intel And Adobe Systems Agree To Pay $415M To Resolve Anti-Poaching Lawsuit

An ongoing lawsuit filed by former employees of Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe Systems accusing the tech companies of conspiring to not hire away each other’s employees as a way to keep wages low appears to be reaching its end. As part of a settlement proposal the four companies have agreed to pay $415 million to resolve the antitrust lawsuit.

CNET reports that the proposed settlement, the second to be presented in the case, is $90.5 million more than a pervious offer that was rejected by a federal judge. The new proposal is awaiting approval by the court.

Despite the companies’ proposition to fork over such a hefty settlement, they continue to deny they engaged in wrongdoing or violated any laws.

“We deny the allegations contained in the suit and we deny that we violated any laws or that we have any obligation to the plaintiff,” Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said in an emailed statement to CNET. “We elected to settle the matter in order to avoid the risk, burdens and uncertainty of ongoing litigation.”

Representatives for Apple and Google declined comment to CNET, while Adobe did not return a request for comment.

The lawsuit began in 2011 when a former Lucasfilm software engineer filed suit alleging that seven companies conspired to keep wages low by refraining from poaching each other’s employees.

CNET reports that several similar lawsuits followed and they were all consolidated into a $3 billion class action lawsuit covering nearly 65,000 employees who worked for the companies between 2005 and 2010.

Some of the evidence presented in the lawsuit focused on emails sent between executives at the companies.

The suit cites an email exchange between late Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs and then-Google CEO and Apple board member Eric Schmidt, in which Jobs asks his fellow CEO to stop trying to hire one of Apple’s engineers.

According to the exchange, Schmidt sent the request on saying, “I believe we have a policy of no recruiting from Apple and this is a direct inbound request. Can you get this stopped and let me know why this is happening? I will need to send a response back to Apple quickly so please let me know as soon as you can.”

In 2013, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit settled their portions of the suit by paying a combined $20 million covering about 8% of the employees named in the suit.

Shortly after the first settlement, Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe proposed a settlement of $324.5 million to avoid a costly, drawn-out trial. However, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh rejected the offer calling it too low.

Apple, Google offer $415 million to settle antipoaching suit [CNET]

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