Major tech firms agree ‘non-poaching’ settlement

<p>Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have agreed a $415 million settlement.</p>

A group of Silicon Valley tech firms have reached a settlement over non-poaching.

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have signed a $415 million (£273.5 million) agreement in an attempt to resolve a lawsuit. The settlement will see the companies prevented from poaching staff from each other. It follows allegations in the US lawsuit that the staff members were prevented from taking better job offers from a firm's rivals.

The revision in the settlement still requires the approval of US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who had previously reject an earlier deal. The previous agreement was deemed to have insufficient damages paid to the plaintiffs. This has been built on in the new lawsuit which has been increased by $90.5 million.

Launched in 2011, the US case had claimed $3 billion in damages representing over 64,000 workers at the four tech firms. After the first settlement was deemed to be too low, the companies could have potentially owed $9 billion under US antitrust laws had they lost the case. The lawsuit focuses around emails sent between executives of the major firms and has generated huge interest.

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe are four of the biggest companies within the tech sector generating billions in revenue every year. As a result their employees have become hot property for other companies within the industry. The court case has surrounded these organisations attempting to poach the best employees from a rival.

One alleged email has generated major interest. According to some reports, the exchange cited in the lawsuit involves former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt telling former Apple boss Steve Jobs that a Google recruiter who had solicited an Apple employee would be fired.

Reuters quoted the court filing as saying: "Schmidt responded that he preferred it be shared 'verbally, since I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?'"

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