Department of Justice Reaches Settlement With Apple and Others
The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with six high technology companies Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., Intuit Inc. and Pixar that prevents them from entering into no solicitation agreements for employees. The department said that the agreements eliminated a significant form of competition to attract highly skilled employees, and overall diminished competition to the detriment of affected employees who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities.
The Department of Justices Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust complaint today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, along with a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the lawsuit.
The department said in its complaint:
● Beginning no later than 2006, Apple and Google executives agreed not to cold call each others employees. Apple placed Google on its internal Do Not Call List, which instructed employees not to directly solicit employees from the listed companies. Similarly, Google listed Apple among the companies that had special agreements with Google and were part of the Do Not Cold Call list;
● Beginning no later than May 2005, senior Apple and Adobe executives agreed not to cold call each others employees. Apple placed Adobe on its internal Do Not Call List and similarly, Adobe included Apple in its internal list of Companies that are off limits;
● Beginning no later than April 2007, Apple and Pixar executives agreed not to cold call each others employees. Apple placed Pixar on its internal Do Not Call List and senior executives at Pixar instructed human resources personnel to adhere to the agreement and maintain a paper trail;
● Beginning no later than September 2007, Google and Intel executives agreed not to cold call each others employees. In its hiring policies and protocol manual, Google listed Intel among the companies that have special agreements with Google and are part of the Do Not Cold Call list. Similarly, Intel instructed its human resources staff about the existence of the agreement; and
● In June 2007, Google and Intuit executives agreed that Google would not cold call any Intuit employee. In its hiring policies and protocol manual, Google also listed Intuit among the companies that have special agreements with Google and are part of the Do Not Cold Call list.
The proposed settlement, which if accepted by the court will be in effect for five years, prohibits the companies from engaging in anticompetitive no solicitation agreements. Although the complaint alleges only that the companies agreed to ban cold calling, the proposed settlement more broadly prohibits the companies from entering, maintaining or enforcing any agreement that in any way prevents any person from soliciting, cold calling, recruiting, or otherwise competing for employees. The companies will also implement compliance measures tailored to these practices.