Emails unveiled in federal court suggest Apple founder Steve Jobs and Google CEO Eric Schmidt made a secret and perhaps illegal pact not to hire each other’s workers and to keep salaries low.
According to Pando Daily journalist Mark Ames, the scheme began in early 2005, when the need for Silicon Valley engineers was at an all-time high. The deal’s consequences became so pervasive that the US Department of Justice launched an antitrust investigation in 2010, which laid the groundwork for a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 100,000 Silicon Valley employees who allege they were deprived of over $9 billion since 2000.
The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to throw out the class action suit over the objections of executives at Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe. The emails in question were unsealed Tuesday by Judge Lucy Koh, the same judge who presided over the Samsung-Apple patent lawsuit.
Jobs, who died in 2011, seems to be the principal architect behind the illegal conspiracy. Yet Schmidt, according to an email from Google senior advisor Bill Campbell dated February 27, 2005, “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”
Schmidt is also said to have told his Senior Vice President for Business Operation Shona Brown to only mention the pact “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later.”