Apple, Google and others in hot water over hiring agreements

by Brendan Nystedt | January 31, 2012

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Apple and Google have always been, to borrow a phrase from filmmaker Werner Herzog, Best Fiends. Like Herzog and actor Klaus Kinski, Apple and Google work well together. The first iPhone had crazy good features because of the collaboration with Google  However, like Kinski and Herzog, Apple and Google have famously clashed behind the scenes. This didn’t stop the two tech firms from entering into a pact with each other even though it could be a violation of federal antitrust law. Apple and Google had an informal arrangement to not hire employees away from each other.

A court filing reveals some really dirty details involving late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In March 2007, Jobs was able to block the hiring of an Apple engineer by Google by sending an email to Schmidt asking to stop. Schmidt then forwarded the email and was able to keep that employee from being hired, eventually getting the Google staffer who contacted the Apple engineer fired.

Apple is trying to convince the court that such unofficial agreements aren’t illegal conspiracies and common within the industry. In fact, a bunch of other technology related companies are also named in the suit– Intuit, Intel, Lucasfilm, Adobe and Pixar. This isn’t the first time these companies have been caught in this kind of a snare. In 2010, all but Lucasfilm were investigated by the DOJ and all denied wrongdoing but agreed to not continue the practice.

Source: PC Magazine, Photo: Diana Walker/Time

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