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U.S. Department of Justice Orders Apple and Others to Stop Engaging in Anti-Poaching Agreements

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The U.S. Department of Justice today announced that it has ordered Apple, Google, and four other companies to refrain from entering into "no solicitation" agreements in which companies agree not to actively seek to hire each other's employees.
The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with six high technology companies - Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., Intuit Inc. and Pixar - that prevents them from entering into no solicitation agreements for employees. The department said that the agreements eliminated a significant form of competition to attract highly skilled employees, and overall diminished competition to the detriment of affected employees who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities.
The Department of Justice has filed an antitrust complaint accompanied by the proposed settlement in order to formalize the agreement. Among the agreements cited by the Department of Justice are Apple's deals with Google, Adobe, and Pixar to prevent the companies from "directly soliciting" each other's employees.
- Beginning no later than 2006, Apple and Google executives agreed not to cold call each other's employees. Apple placed Google on its internal "Do Not Call List," which instructed employees not to directly solicit employees from the listed companies. Similarly, Google listed Apple among the companies that had special agreements with Google and were part of the "Do Not Cold Call" list;
- Beginning no later than May 2005, senior Apple and Adobe executives agreed not to cold call each other's employees. Apple placed Adobe on its internal "Do Not Call List" and similarly, Adobe included Apple in its internal list of "Companies that are off limits";
- Beginning no later than April 2007, Apple and Pixar executives agreed not to cold call each other's employees. Apple placed Pixar on its internal "Do Not Call List" and senior executives at Pixar instructed human resources personnel to adhere to the agreement and maintain a paper trail;
The report calls the agreements "broader than reasonably necessary" for the purposes of collaboration between companies and notes that they were "formed and actively managed" by senior executives at the companies involved.

The proposed settlement would bar the named companies from engaging in anticompetitive no solicitation agreements for a period of five years and extend beyond the "cold calling" practice typically covered in those agreements to include other forms of solicitation and recruiting. The companies will also be required to maintain records of their compliance.

One week ago, news broke that a settlement was under discussion as all sides fought to avoid a court battle over the issue. Apple's no solicitation agreements came into the spotlight last August when it was revealed that Apple and Google had such a deal and that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had approached Palm about a similar deal.

Article Link: U.S. Department of Justice Orders Apple and Others to Stop Engaging in Anti-Poaching Agreements
 

iansilv

macrumors 65816
Jun 2, 2007
1,053
336
I usually hate this crap, but this i agree with. The workers with skills should be courted by the company that can pay them the most. If the company currently employing them doesn't like that, they can damn well pay them more.
 
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Adokimus

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2007
842
3
Boston, MA
Good, but this will be hard to enforce. You're also not legally allowed to "blacklist" an employee either, but I have a friend who's been trying to leave Apple for weeks now and they've directly threatened to blacklist him if he leaves before his project is completed (which is months from now). So, he either takes his dream job offer at another place, along with the promise of never working in the industry again, or he stays with Apple until they let him go and the dream job offer is no longer on the table.
 
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RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,507
270
Lagrange Point
I think the do not call lists were a good thing. If person A works for Google writing code for the music store, then they come to Apple to write music store code, It would be very hard for Apple to know they were not getting Google code.

This was a way to protect against accidental IP theft.
 
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jrichard012

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2007
30
0
This really stinks. I'll bet they will establish another bureaucracy to "enforce" this display of preventing employers from getting their people to honor their contracts.
 
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RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,507
270
Lagrange Point
Good, but this will be hard to enforce. You're also not legally allowed to "blacklist" an employee either, but I have a friend who's been trying to leave Apple for weeks now and they've directly threatened to blacklist him if he leaves before his project is completed (which is months from now). So, he either takes his dream job offer at another place, along with the promise of never working in the industry again, or he stays with Apple until they let him go and the dream job offer is no longer on the table.

This sounds like a bad project manager. He should take it up the food chain.
 
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juicedropsdeuce

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2010
327
0
Steve Jobs must be so mad. His fascist grip is only technically weakened. At least he doesn't have to worry about someone wanting to pilfer Jonny I've.
 
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quagmire

macrumors 604
Apr 19, 2004
6,589
1,673
How does Anti-Poaching agreements hinder competition? They don't stop the employees from quitting from Apple to go work for Google. They just don't allow Google to actively try to persuade said employee to leave Apple and join Google. I find poaching to be a disgusting practice( especially if said companies have close ties in a partnership, etc).
 
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PeterQVenkman

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2005
2,023
0
Steve Jobs must be so mad. His fascist grip is only technically weakened. At least he doesn't have to worry about someone wanting to pilfer Jonny I've.

I doubt this will affect him at all. Instead of having someone sign a contract, he'll just threaten to kill their family if they leave for a competitor.

It's much more effective! ;)


How does Anti-Poaching agreements hinder competition? They don't stop the employees from quitting from Apple to go work for Google. They just don't allow Google to actively try to persuade said employee to leave Apple and join Google. I find poaching to be a disgusting practice( especially if said companies have close ties in a partnership, etc).

It gives employees back the power they should have. Now they can negotiate a higher salary based on an offer from a competitor. Just because Google is trying to recruit doesn't mean they will succeed. It may mean the employee has leverage to ask for a well deserved raise and not go to a competitor. If Apple doesn't want to match that price, they can always choose to let them go. Competition at it's core.

I'm all for it. CEOs and big companies get enough perks. power to the people!


EDIT: I can't believe Pixar would engage in anti-poaching practices. The animation world is insanely nomadic and job terms can vary from weeks to years based on the project or shot one is hired to work on. And with so much being outsourced to Singapore and India, it just hamstrings animators in the US even more.
 
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Kenn Marks

macrumors regular
Dec 22, 2005
118
0
I usually hate this crap, but this i agree with. The workers with skills should be courted by the company that can pay them the most. If the company currently employing them doesn't like that, they can damn well pay them more.

I think the DOJ should mind it's own business and worry about the financial industry not the Tech industry. I spent 20 years in corporate tech and it was bad enough when head hunters heard you weren't happy with their incessant calls and invites for interviews.
Now if Corporations themselves can call directly into a company and start poaching talent I'd start moving my think tanks off shore where my emloyees could work in peace. How would banks like it if competing banks poached tellers who were the most courteous and friendly to work in their banks or schools poaching teachers whose classes got the best scores. It's just been unwritten in most industries but in tech where espionage could be rampant and do not compete agreements were the norm a do not poach agreement seems only fair to the corporations. Bottom line in the tech industry if you have any skills and marketable credentials if you're unhappy all you have to do is drop your name in the head hunters hat and you will have enough suitable offers that you can paper a room. By poaching corporations would not have to front the Head Hunters FEE and could either add a hiring bonus or increased offer to the potential employee. By poaching you will start bidding wars for employees in the current situation employees are mlldly disatisfied with their job situation and are sort of looking to leave whereas with poaching the employee might be totally happy where they are and now the poaching company must dangle a very enticing carrot to lure them away.
I can just see the salaries of professional sports figures in the tech industry if it goes to a bidding war. IMHO
 
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Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,800
7,990
New Hampshire, USA
How does Anti-Poaching agreements hinder competition? They don't stop the employees from quitting from Apple to go work for Google. They just don't allow Google to actively try to persuade said employee to leave Apple and join Google. I find poaching to be a disgusting practice( especially if said companies have close ties in a partnership, etc).


Nothing is preventing the employee from looking / taking a new job. In 99% of the poaching cases, the employee is breaking his legal NDA agreement to do similar work at his new company (which is why a company is poaching the employee in the first place). The main beneficiary of this is the lawyers who hope to make even more money.
 
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Auchron

macrumors newbie
Nov 26, 2009
24
0
Don't agree with DoJ

I think this is a dumb call.

I would rather work for a company that has agreements with other companies so they don't cold call me rather than a company lock me into a contract that prevents me to work in a field similar to mine.

I see that happening, more key employees getting contracts that prevent them from working in other areas.

At least with no cold calls, you had the freedom to seek your own employment if you wanted to leave.
 
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Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,800
7,990
New Hampshire, USA
Now they can negotiate a higher salary based on an offer from a competitor. Just because Google is trying to recruit doesn't mean they will succeed. It may mean the employee has leverage to ask for a well deserved raise and not go to a competitor. If Apple doesn't want to match that price, they can always choose to let them go. Competition at it's core.

I'm confused with your logic. Currently, an employee at Apple can decide to look for a new job, interview at Google, and CAN negotiate a higher salary at Apple based on an offer from Google (i.e. he can leverage the offer into a raise). What is the difference ?
 
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quagmire

macrumors 604
Apr 19, 2004
6,589
1,673
Nothing is preventing the employee from looking / taking a new job. In 99% of the poaching cases, the employee is breaking his legal NDA agreement to do similar work at his new company (which is why a company is poaching the employee in the first place). The main beneficiary of this is the lawyers who hope to make even more money.

That reminds me. If you ask me what is really wrong are non-compete clauses in an employees contract. If he wants to go work for a competitor, let him go. What is even worse is even if they are the ones to fire the employee, the non-compete clause is still in effect.

If the DOJ should have ruled on anything, it should be on non-compete clauses.
 
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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,510
5,393
Canada
Unless the employee is very high up the corporate chain with plenty of influence, employees should be allowed to join any company they wish. Anti-poaching agreements / competitive clauses are just BS. In many countries, the courts would throw out anti-competitive cases in favour of the employee.
 
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marksman

macrumors 603
Jun 4, 2007
5,764
5
This seems dumb to me.

The only way to prove that they are in compliance would be to actually poach employees from other companies.
 
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Apollo21

macrumors member
Feb 6, 2009
94
0
Pennsylvania, USA
The only way to prove that they are in compliance would be to actually poach employees from other companies.

Exactly what I was thinking. Now do they have to purposely cold-call X number of people from those companies each week and keep records of the phone conversations? LOL.

Edit: How funny would it be if they did, and after providing the records, it was found that the companies were only calling secretaries and interns? :)
 
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Tesseract

macrumors regular
Mar 2, 2008
139
37
Steve Jobs must be so mad. His fascist grip is only technically weakened. At least he doesn't have to worry about someone wanting to pilfer Jonny I've.

Soo.... fascism is better than fascism? How does that logic work? Nobody is forced to work for Steve Jobs. Everybody has to follow the DoJ.

Stupid move by the DoJ on multiple levels.
 
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Kenn Marks

macrumors regular
Dec 22, 2005
118
0
No Ethics

Good, but this will be hard to enforce. You're also not legally allowed to "blacklist" an employee either, but I have a friend who's been trying to leave Apple for weeks now and they've directly threatened to blacklist him if he leaves before his project is completed (which is months from now). So, he either takes his dream job offer at another place, along with the promise of never working in the industry again, or he stays with Apple until they let him go and the dream job offer is no longer on the table.

Is it really your friends project or is he just a cog in the wheel? If it's his project and he wants to leave before it's complete I'd blacklist him also and if I was the hiring company I'd never give him any responsibility for fear he'd bail on my project as well when the mood fits. People don't know today how to accept a job and stick with it (mariages included) if the going gets a little iffy or dicey they bail. No more commitment just give me a great paycheck and don't expect much from me. Apple looks for perfection and commitment and if you don't have it they'll be the first to let you go.
 
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torbjoern

macrumors 65816
Jun 9, 2009
1,204
6
The Black Lodge
Good, but this will be hard to enforce. You're also not legally allowed to "blacklist" an employee either, but I have a friend who's been trying to leave Apple for weeks now and they've directly threatened to blacklist him if he leaves before his project is completed (which is months from now). So, he either takes his dream job offer at another place, along with the promise of never working in the industry again, or he stays with Apple until they let him go and the dream job offer is no longer on the table.

If it's the dream job, he would be foolish to let it go. Such a choice is a no-brainer. I wish I had been given such a choice.
 
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schmidm77

macrumors member
Jun 15, 2004
56
0
Since we care so much about labor competition, maybe the DoJ will start investigating anti-competitive agreements with labor unions, along with their harassment and intimidation practices, and states who outright prevent nonunion labor from entering the workforce.
 
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