Apple and Google, along with two other significant players in the Silicon Valley have agreed to settle an antitrust lawsuit that is years old and is a class-action level. The companies have agreed to pay a collective $415 million to settle a lawsuit that alleges the companies conspired with each other to ensure that employees were not poached. Intel and Adobe Systems were also a part of the lawsuit and agreed to the terms that Google and Apple also agreed to.
A spokesman for one of the companies involved said, “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. We elected to settle the matter in order to avoid the risk, burdens and uncertainty of ongoing litigation.” However, Apple and Google are remaining quiet on the suit that was filed by a group of former employees in 2011. Interestingly, the lawsuit alleges that between 2005 and 2009 the companies conspired to keep wages low, by ensuring that recruiters and employees alike could not poach employees from the other participating companies.
The settlement though is significantly lower than what many had believed the lawsuit would fetch, should it make it to court. Specifically, the suit asked for $3 billion – but was expected to reach a settlement of $9 billion if it made it to court this spring. That being said, a judge already denied the first attempt at settling the lawsuit last year – when the companies offered a joint settlement of $324.5 million to the plaintiffs. US District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled that way because she voiced concerns that individuals would receive less than those who settled earlier when Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Intuit were included in the original case as well.
There is some significant evidence looming for those who are involved in the lawsuit. Specifically, an email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs – the former bosses of both Google and Apple discussing a recruiter who would be terminated due to his infringing on their worked out agreement to keep the wages low between the companies. It is unclear at this juncture whether the judge will rule in favor of this settlement.