Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Mar 2014 14:48 UTC

In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the " Engineering" group made a career-ending mistake: She cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email, violating the secret and illegal non-solicitation compact that her boss, Eric Schmidt, had agreed with Apple's Steve Jobs.

What happened next is just one of many specific examples of how people's lives were impacted by the Techtopus wage-theft cartel that was taken down by the Department of Justice antitrust division, and is currently being litigated in a landmark class action lawsuit.

This story sent shivers down my spine. What a bunch of horrible, unethical scumbags. Sadly, their criminal behaviour won't really have any meaningful consequences. These people reside above the law.

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The reason I don' think this issue is so cut and dried is that the companies didn't agree that they wouldn't hire former employees from each other, but only that the would't actively recruit. So if you're a Google employee and you think that you would be happier or make more money working for Apple, there was nothing to prevent you from going over to Apple and seeing if they'd hire you. So it didn't limit employees movement.

Because of the tight market for engineers and other key employees in Silicon Valley, there's a pretty scummy underbelly of recruiters taking a shortcut to finding top talent by waiting for Company X to spend a lot of time and money screening and hiring someone, then luring them away to Company Y. It had reached the point that the back and forth retaliatory poaching between big firms was getting out of control so they agreed to a cease-fire of sorts.

Now, it's true that a superstar engineer at Google wasn't going to be getting phone calls offering a 20% salary bump to go work at Apple. But I think the jury's still out on whether that fact actually prevented someone from knocking on Apple's door anyway and getting the same 20% salary bump.

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