Judge Lucy Koh yesterday ordered Tim Cook to testify in a lawsuit over whether Apple (AAPL),...

Judge Lucy Koh yesterday ordered Tim Cook to testify in a lawsuit over whether Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and other hi-tech companies breached antitrust laws by agreeing not to try to poach each others' employees. Erich Schmidt is also due to appear in the trial, as is Intel's (INTC) Paul Otellini. Lawyers for the five plaintiffs in the case reckon that damages could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
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Comments (22)
  • Michael O'Neill
    , contributor
    Comments (474) | Send Message
    Reckon possible damages (after how many years?) could reach hundreds of millions.


    For the like of Google, Microsoft and Apple (who produce $1000,000,000 of new cash weekly) this is a bit of a non-issue.


    18 Jan 2013, 06:29 AM Reply Like
  • WmInce
    , contributor
    Comments (73) | Send Message
    I guess you are not holding any of Apple stock. Right?
    Shareholders may have a different take on that.
    18 Jan 2013, 10:29 AM Reply Like
  • scott trader
    , contributor
    Comments (7138) | Send Message
    Judge Judy strikes again....
    19 Jan 2013, 09:01 PM Reply Like
  • DrWhupAss
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
    anti trust laws seek to punish those companies which conspire together to restrain trade and control prices.


    Any such agreement not to poach each others employees, seems to fall short of this commercial regulation. If anything, agreeing not to steal each other employees keeps costs to consumers down by allowing the companies to avoid heavy retraining costs and trade secret leaks.
    I don't know what a judge is going to do, but without more, I don't think this sounds like an anti trust violation.
    18 Jan 2013, 07:06 AM Reply Like
  • gensearch2
    , contributor
    Comments (1556) | Send Message
    Wow. That's standard practice throughout the defense industry. You never recruited people from other companies that you worked with. Only if they approached you, were they fair game.
    18 Jan 2013, 07:18 AM Reply Like
  • danzada
    , contributor
    Comments (147) | Send Message
    Which any smart employee would if they were laid off.
    18 Jan 2013, 09:24 AM Reply Like
  • gensearch2
    , contributor
    Comments (1556) | Send Message
    You could recruit laid off employees of another company you worked without any hesitation. All you had to do was tell HR they were laid off [or the employee approach you first] and it was done. In all likelihood you would get a bonus check if they were hired.


    If HR knew you recruited someone who the company worked with, it was deep sixed and told never to even think about doing it again.


    Companies often have working relationships with competitors. That working relationship is far more important than any single hire.
    19 Jan 2013, 08:43 AM Reply Like
  • pearls before swine
    , contributor
    Comments (364) | Send Message
    Interesting, because at the same time that they have this gentlemen's agreement, the employees have to sign non-compete agreements anyway. Although the enforceability of those agreements varies from state to state (I hear it's weak in CA), the gentlemen's agreement seems more like a pact not to induce breach of contract on the part of each others' employees.


    It's not at all clear to me that agreeing to act in the spirit of one set of laws constitutes a restraint of trade that should result in large fines being levied collected by the government.
    18 Jan 2013, 07:51 AM Reply Like
  • amuggler
    , contributor
    Comments (13) | Send Message
    Once more gvt are looking for money....to spend it irrationnally....instead to save or cut spending.....Shame on all thes gvt people....starting with the head.
    18 Jan 2013, 08:07 AM Reply Like
  • xeys_00
    , contributor
    Comments (76) | Send Message
    OMG Sell! Sell! Sell! lol, I'm just joking, I hope we don't hear people are selling Apple on this news.
    18 Jan 2013, 08:20 AM Reply Like
  • sduris
    , contributor
    Comments (581) | Send Message
    With some of the loons - I mean AAPL-haters - on this board, I wouldn't be surprised if they try to spin that people should sell. Long AAPL.
    18 Jan 2013, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • brentn
    , contributor
    Comments (55) | Send Message
    This has certainly been a great strategy for Intel? Besides, didn't Google just by Motorola Mobility with the idea of producing a new line of phones? Government wants a share of oversees $$$.
    18 Jan 2013, 08:39 AM Reply Like
  • Colemanheavyconst
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    Only low life forms that are incapable of training and leading skilled people go out and try to poach trained, skilled people from their competitors. They poach to cover up their own inadequacies.
    18 Jan 2013, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • cabrach38
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    nothing wrong with an anti poach agreement, stop staff playing off one employer against the other. I was forced to do it years ago in Africa when our staff were jumping to the contractor who had newly come to town.
    Where is the illegality, the employee should resign first and work out his notice period or go without pay in lieu, but then the new employer will check with the old who will say why the person left - outcome - high and dry no job! nothing illegal.
    18 Jan 2013, 10:37 AM Reply Like
  • bakermre
    , contributor
    Comments (388) | Send Message
    Typical of the villainous government! They whack companies for agreeing to support legitimate "non-compete" clauses in perfectly legal employment contracts, in another attempt to euchre more money out of serious, creative businesses who obey the law. Just like the Sherman, Clayton, and Robinson-Patman Acts, if you obey one, you automatically run a-foul of breaking the alternative and paying consent decrees and fines to that old devil: Uncle Sam!
    18 Jan 2013, 01:23 PM Reply Like
  • Eric Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (2214) | Send Message
    Doesn't Lucy have something better to do than play HR consultant/bab y sitter to these huge companies?
    18 Jan 2013, 02:37 PM Reply Like
  • gensearch2
    , contributor
    Comments (1556) | Send Message
    I'm sure the Judge Koh would be happy to toss this junk out if she could. But we have this court system where people or companies are allowed to file suit.


    Perhaps you would like to change the laws, so they need your personal approval to file suit. Write your Representative.
    19 Jan 2013, 08:47 AM Reply Like
  • redponydoc
    , contributor
    Comments (356) | Send Message
    Dismissing the suit does not prevent the right to file suit.


    It has to be filed before it can be dismissed.
    19 Jan 2013, 09:54 AM Reply Like
  • cjcarrad
    , contributor
    Comments (41) | Send Message
    Doesn't appear the honorable Judge has a choice. She didn't file the action nor did any governments. This is a hoped-for lawyers paradise, and their estimate of a big payout is the only motivation. Her honor is following jurist protocols, with the filing too vague and over-reaching to instantly dismiss. It looks as though two matters are at issue: 1.Fat settlements 2. broadening anti-trust through precedent. (to gain fat compensation) .


    I don't doubt plaintiffs succeeding at a first trial, especially if by Jury. However, I fail to comprehend what it is about no compete and confidentiality contracts of employment, and the open job market -- even if the big techs have a no poaching back room agreement, -- what this has to do with anti trust. I spent 28 years under very tight employer contracts and for good reasons. 1. I had a stable career by contract agreement and 2. The value of my creativity could not be compromised by less scrupulous employees, at least not without breach of their contracts. In any enterprise with highly proprietary technical, trade and brand secrets, the goodwill foundations of shareholder value has to be staunchly protected. It would be a breach of fiduciary NOT to negotiate no poaching policies.


    If this action should maintain any standing in ANY court, then yes, the govt can and will use it to exact tribute. With this potential case Her honor Judge Koh faces yet another thorny litigation ... rife with very real threats to free enterprise and the defense of intellectual property.


    I am long AAPL.
    18 Jan 2013, 06:19 PM Reply Like
  • robertcoruna
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
    ALL the articles from months to date explain us that apple is playing in other sphere than the other techs and that's why the share price drop, and now it explain us that there is a companies agreement ....... what a bull sheet is writting here
    18 Jan 2013, 08:52 PM Reply Like
  • rrosey2
    , contributor
    Comments (885) | Send Message
    I don't think settlement is possible. That would attract others to sue.


    I don't think there's any merit because poaching is an attack which requires an aggressive act. It could be viewed as an enticement to breach of contract, because there is a "no compete" clause in the contract.


    It is not the poaching which is involved, but the agreement itself. Is there a written agreement, or is it a "gentleman's agreement" ?


    In any case, the result of a decision against the companies would be disastrous to American business. Can't imagine the present Supreme Court ruling against business (or, for that matter, Judge Koh, who may just rule the suit as frivolous, after going through the correct motions).


    I would not wish to be whoever is financing this suit. Hundreds of millions and years of litigation, a Dickensian onslaught.
    19 Jan 2013, 03:26 AM Reply Like
  • gensearch2
    , contributor
    Comments (1556) | Send Message
    I'm surprised that HR would have even bothered SJ with this stuff.


    I wouldn't be surprised if SJ sent an e-mail back to HR telling them not to bother him with it. It was probably easier to hit "delete"
    19 Jan 2013, 08:48 AM Reply Like
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