Mid and high-level employees, often experts in their respective fields, are a key asset for different tech companies. When the competition is fierce, employees are given fair benefits to retain them. But when companies sign a mutual agreement not to ‘steal’ each other’s employees, that disrupts fair market competition and is, thus, illegal. In the light of certain emails made public recently, Apple, Google, Adobe and many others indulged in such an agreement.
Most of the workforce in the tech arena is such that it can be utilized in a whole range of companies. That is because these companies offer similar services and products and a given employer with a certain set of skills can fit into any of them. However, it seems that Apple, Google and other tech titans had signed agreements with each other which made it certain that one of these companies wouldn’t actively try to hire an employer from any of the other companies which are part of the agreement.
To this end, emails by Steve Jobs have now been made public. One of them asks Google’s Eric Schmidt to stop recruiting people from Apple’s iPod Group. The other email is more sinister. It is directed at Palm’s CEO, Edward Colligan and asks Colligan to stop trying to recruit Apple’s employers or Apple would launch patent litigation against Palm.
Jobs also reminds Colligan about how Apple is in a better position for such a battle by stating, “I’m sure you realize the asymmetry in the financial resources of our respective companies when you say: ‘We will both just end up paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money.'”
Apparently, a number of companies were part of this secret no-hire agreement which led each of them to maintain a no-hire list. The list typically includes the names of such companies which must not be approached by the recruiters. Once the case concludes, it is sure to cost the likes of Apple, Google and Adobe a sizable fine.