Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe reach $415m lawsuit settlement

The class-action lawsuit filed between four of Silicon Valley's biggest names, and current and former employees has been put to bed, after a US District Judge gave approval for the technology giants to reach a $415 million settlement.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

On Wednesday, US District Judge, Lucy Koh approved a settlement between Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe, and over 64,000 current and former staff of the tech giants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the four-year class-action case is over, with Koh agreeing for the four conglomerates pay $415 million to settle the case.

In 2011, Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe were accused of conspiring in a secret anti-poaching "gentlemen's agreement", whereby the four companies -- and others -- secretly agreed not to steal each others' staff.

The alleged illegal head-hunting pacts, apparently put in place by top executives at the companies, agreed hiring employees collectively rather than bargaining with individuals would not only eliminate competition for staff, but result in financial gains for each firm.

In August, the four companies attempted to settle the class-action lawsuit, but Koh rejected their $325 million offer, ruling it was "too low".

Koh allegedly rejected the offered settlement amount on the basis that it was comparatively lower to the $20 million settlement she previously presided over involving Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar.

At the time, Koh believed a fairer figure would have been $380 million, noting the "compelling evidence" against the companies. That evidence included an email exchange between late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt, who was at the time both on Apple's board and Google's CEO. Schmidt confirmed in an email that Google had a "policy of no recruiting from Apple".

Koh also presided over the lengthy court battle between Samsung and Apple.

Editorial standards