​Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe find new deal in non-poaching suit

A class action suit accusing four Silicon Valley heavyweights of conspiring to suppress tech workers' wages may come to a close following a new settlement offer.

Four Silicon Valley heavyweights have agreed to a settlement that could bring an end to a class action suit by tech workers over the companies' alleged deals not to poach each other's talent.

The class action suit, brought by 65,000 tech workers in 2011, accused Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe of having a secret pact to restrict job mobility and keep down worker salaries in an industry where there is often fierce competition for talent.

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The new proposal follows an offer made last August by the four companies to settle for $324.5m. However US District Judge Lucy Kok rejected the deal as too low in light of a 2013 settlement involving Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar.

Koh believed a fairer figure would have been $380m, 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 has a "policy of no recruiting from Apple".

The current proposal by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe may succeed where previous offers have failed and follows a bid by the companies to appeal Koh's rejection.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that the plaintiff who objected to the offer made in August will support the new agreement, however the worker's lawyer declined to disclose the amount of the settlement. The figure was not included in the court filing on the deal.

An Intel spokesman confirmed to ZDNet that it had reached a new settlement however added that the terms were confidential until the agreement had been filed with the court. The other Silicon Valley companies had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publishing.

While details of the deal remain under wraps, Reuters noted that the plaintiffs will file a detailed review of the offer after which Koh will decide whether to accept or reject it.

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