Apple and Other Tech Companies Settle Anti-Poaching Lawsuit [u]

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have all settled a class action lawsuit, where 64,000 employees accused these firms of purposefully depressing wages by not poaching each other’s workers, reports the WSJ:

The settlement was confirmed by Kelly M. Dermody, a lawyer for the plaintiffs at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP. “This is an excellent resolution of the case that will benefit class members,” Ms. Dermody said in a statement.

The employees had been seeking $3 billion in damages. Under antitrust rules, that could have been tripled to $9 billion.

Looks like these companies figured out it was cheaper to bow out now than face higher damages in court, which would have taken place on May 27. No terms of the deal were disclosed.

Previous leaked evidence revealed the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs asking Google’s Eric Schmidt to not poach the former’s employees, dating back to 2007.

Last year, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit settled from the suit, paying $20 million.

Update April 24, 9:38 PST: Reuters now reports Apple and Google agreed to settle for $324 million:

Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to pay a total of $324 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley, sources familiar with the deal said, just weeks before a high profile trial had been scheduled to begin.

The settlement was disclosed in a court filing earlier on Thursday, which did not spell out terms.

That sounds like a bargain, since going to court would have cost Apple and Google a whole lot more.