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

In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the "Google.com 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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dorin.lazar
Member since:
2006-12-15

Do you know the many-clause agreement that a new Google, Microsoft or Apple employee signs? How many do you think are similar to this one or worse? I don't get it: why is everyone shocked?

Reply Parent Score: -1

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

why is everyone shocked?


Because you have autism and can't tell the difference between shock and outrage.

Reply Parent Score: 3

egarland Member since:
2005-08-05

This would be like finding out that Target and Walmart had constant meetings to set pricing. It's illegal because it side-steps the competition which is required for capitalism to work properly.

People forget that a free-for-all that lets companies do what they want doesn't result in capitalism, it results in a broken mess of exploitation, which is why built into the base of all capitalist systems are laws that force competition and outlaw cooperating to avoid that competition. These companies brazenly violated those laws.

Reply Parent Score: 3

dorin.lazar Member since:
2006-12-15

No, it's not the same. This is an agreement not to hunt the other's employees. Which is only fair, given the fact that Google as an employer might be damaged due to unlawful contact of its new employee with patents and intellectual property that would belong to Apple.

I would probably have a similar clause if I was them.

Reply Parent Score: 0

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

People forget that a free-for-all that lets companies do what they want doesn't result in capitalism, it results in a broken mess of exploitation, which is why built into the base of all capitalist systems are laws that force competition and outlaw cooperating to avoid that competition. These companies brazenly violated those laws.


At least this was what I learned in my economics class. Seems a lot of people think free market means freedom to act.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_Competition

Reply Parent Score: 3

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Do you know the many-clause agreement that a new Google, Microsoft or Apple employee signs? How many do you think are similar to this one or worse?


I'm guessing that you're referring to things like non-compete clauses in employment contracts? As detestable as those "I agree to be unemployed for X number of years if I cease working here" clauses are, they're still better than what Apple and Google were doing. At least those are actual formal clauses in contracts, which people can refuse to sign or challenge in court* - how are people supposed to do that with anti-poaching agreements that they're not even aware of in the first place?

And egarland is completely correct that it's just as bad as price-fixing (and for exactly the same reasons) - the only difference is that here, in effect, it's wages that are being fixed rather than prices. Ideally, Apple should be forced to pay compensation to any of their staff who had even the remotest chance of making more money at Google (and ditto/vice-versa for Google) - retroactive to whenever the anti-poaching agreement began.

Reply Parent Score: 3