DoJ: Apple, Google, Adobe Must End Anti-Poaching Agreements

Apple vs. DoJThe U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement late on Friday with six high tech companies, including Apple, Adobe, and Google, that prevents them from entering into deals that prohibit them from poaching employees from each other. In its announcement, the DoJ said the agreements, “eliminated a significant form of competition […] to the detriment of affected employees.”

The DoJ began looking into the agreements in place between Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., Intuit Inc. and Pixar earlier in 2010. Those agreements prevented recruiters from one company cold calling or directly soliciting employees at another company. It was reported last week that a deal was in the works, a report that was apparently accurate.

All of the companies involved had various dealings with each other, and two of them — Apple and Pixar — had the same CEO — Steve Jobs — when the agreements were put into place. The DoJ specifically cited agreements between Apple and Google, Apple and Adobe, Apple and Pixar, Google and Intel, and Google and Intuit as being a form of anticompetitive behavior.

The proposed settlement will be in effect for five years. Under the agreement, the companies involved are prohibited from any kind of agreement that stops recruiters from, “soliciting, cold calling, recruiting, or otherwise competing for employees.”

The agreement must be approved by the courts, and to that end the DoJ filed an antitrust complaint along with the proposed settlement with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. If that court approves the agreement, the issue will be resolved.