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Apple and Google Face Salary-Fixing Lawsuit 402

beaverdownunder writes "Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel have been accused of maintaining an agreement not to poach each other's staff, thus restricting increases in salary and restricting career development. California District Judge Lucy Koh has found that the plaintiffs have adequately demonstrated antitrust injury. Sparked by a request from the late Steve Jobs, from 2005 to 2007 the defendants had a 'no cold-call' policy of staff recruitment amongst themselves. Jobs is also alleged to have threatened Palm with litigation for not entering into a 'no cold-call' agreement with Apple." Besides the companies named above, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm are also involved.
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Apple and Google Face Salary-Fixing Lawsuit

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  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:45AM (#39762981)
    For example, Nvidia and ATI could have agreed - in secret - that neither company shall surpass the other's current flagship 3D card by a speed improvement greater than 5%. They could also have agreed that the most speed gain to be put on the 3D card market, in any one year, shall be no greater than 15% higher than the previous year. What about realtime hardware raytracing for games? Both companies may already have prototype 3D hardware capable of this. But they may have agreed amongst themselves - again in secret - that nobody will put a realtime raytracing based 3D card on the market before 2018. ------- Given what little we, the public, know about "secret agreements" between these supposedly "competing" companies, there may very well be a graphics card or CPU prototype in some lab somewhere that runs 2 - 5 times faster than the fastest hardware currently on the market. But, by honoring a "secret agreement" between competitors, nobody would release that hyperfast graphics card or CPU into the market before the year 2020. That would buy these companies "8 years" worth of steady profiteering from releasing incrementally improved hardware (i.e. each time you buy a new CPU or gfx card, you only get a 15 - 25% speed improvement, rather than a 200 - 500% improvement). Does this sound like a Conspiracy Theory? Of course it does. But could it actually be true? Yes, I believe that there is a chance that precisely this kind of "lets all take it slow with hardware speed improvements" agreement between competitors could be real.
  • Re:Cold calls? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Surt ( 22457 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:46AM (#39762993) Homepage Journal

    Cold calls offering employment opportunity trade the negative of disruption against the positive of the opportunity offered. So long as the cold caller is legitimately offering you something of value, I think they can reasonably make the case that their call is ethical.

  • Re:Cold calls? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ranton ( 36917 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:52AM (#39763049)

    I'm a pharmacist and I get cold called, at work, at least 4 times every month. I want to shove the phone up their ass and twist it.

    You get a call about once a week from someone offering you significantly more money to come work for them ... and you are pissed about it? I do get annoyed by recruiters who consistently email and call me, but that is just because they never really have a specific job they need you for. But this story is talking about companies specifically targetting valuable employees they want to hire (with a high enough salary bump to make them jump ship).

    Any recruiter who wants to call me right now for a 33% pay raise to work at a premier tech company will never piss me off, even if I don't take his offer. And I am very content with my current gig.

  • by anthony_greer ( 2623521 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @12:16PM (#39763253)

    These conracts couldnt ever really work if people were allowed talk salary...There is nothing for me that is more awkward than when I have to answer that question from a prospective employer about salary, I don't know if I am really too high for the market or if he is BSing me to pay me less...

    I just wish people were a little less shy about talking i worth 70 80 or 110k per year? I honestly don't know, so I just take a guess, its like throwing darts, I cant really put much stock in sites like CBSalaries and Glassdoor because I dont know where they get their data, how do I know it isnt just the companies putting in low ball salaries?

  • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @12:21PM (#39763291)

    No, this is going to fly way under the radar, as it affects their employees, not customers.

    It nicely demonstrates how Steve "Magical thinking as a cure for cancer" Jobs acted a little crazy occasionally. "Jobs is also alleged to have threatened Palm with litigation for not entering into a 'no cold-call' agreement with Apple.". Yeah, sue them for not entering into an illegal pact - that's going to fly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @12:25PM (#39763329)

    In the 90's I was working at Sun Microsystems, and I had gotten a call for a job at Cisco because a colleague had recommended me (unbeknownst to me). When I told the recruiter who had phoned me that I was currently at Sun, she said "oh, we can't hire you until you get permission from Scott to talk to us. Scott and John have an agreement to not go after each others employees."

    So these things have been around a while.

  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @12:28PM (#39763357) Homepage Journal

    When you look at glass door, you look at the range. Let's say it's 80k-210k for 5 years experience in silicon valley area. You discount the low end of the range, that's probably low-balling efforts by companies. You discount the high end, that's people bragging, or factoring in positive stock outcomes in order to inflate their self worth. You look at the average value, say 123, add about 10% (to account for the sandbagging). So call that 135. Then you ask yourself, am I better than the average, or worse? Add an appropriate percentage. Let's say you're a little better than average, but you know you're not a superstar. Bump yourself up another 10%. Call that 150.

    You've now arrived at a reasonably fair value, in spite of the distortions present in the system.

    Also, if you have any friends in your industry but not at your company, you can ask them (and discount about 10-20% for the bragging factor).

  • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @01:02PM (#39763651)

    It does make a difference. The original poster claimed in essence that what Google did was 'over the line' into clearly evil practices, not still in some gray area. You're the idiot trying to turn that into some sort of "Oooohhh, he said Google is teh Hitler - Godwin!!!!!" bit. You're the one insisting on a 7th grade level of comprehension as the standard (Literally, it's in 7th grade in the U.S. that a standardised test is expected to show the student has grasped how a modifier such as clearly is used, before they are reading at the eigth grade level, using example sentences quite similar to the one the anon coward is failing to parse.).
                So, what we have here is a post from "Wrong sized glass" which immediately got modded +5 for (incorrectly) picking on someone's grammer, and two AC posts to back it up. Can you say "sock puppets"? Can you say "reportable abuse of the moderation system"? Pathetic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @03:00PM (#39764687)

    Google's done plenty of evil things over the years...

    - Manipulating the yahoo executives to tank Microsoft takeover: if you are a yahoo shareholder, that one ranks right up there.
    - If you were a user of any of the sites which they bought and closed down (JaiKu, Gears, Lively, Wave, etc, etc)
    - Supporting proposals (e.g, w/ Verison), that gut net neutrality rules for new wireless internet services.
    - Using their corporate muscle to buy discount landing rights at Moffett field for their founders plane to land at all hours (disturbing residences in the landing path)

    Just to name few... Of course what is most evil probably depends on what affects you the most (e.g., if you live under the landing zone in Mountain View, vs if you are employeed at Google or Apple for a lower salary, or if you yahoo stock is underwater, or if you pay extra for video streaming services, or if you were teaching a class that used Gears...)

  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Monday April 23, 2012 @01:42AM (#39767953) Homepage Journal

    I want to mod you up, but it wouldn't be clear why I think your words deserve more notice, so I'm replying instead.

    Conservatives often have (what I consider) valid criticisms of liberals' proposed solutions to various problems.

    The problem is, instead of offering alternative solutions, they deny the problems.

    We need to get a dialogue going on both sides of the aisle which both acknowledges the existence of the problems, and the inadequacy of the proposed solutions currently on the table, and begins brainstorming new ideas, instead of this monotonous repetition of "There is a problem and THIS is the solution!" vs "That solution sucks, therefore there is no problem." Somebody needs to say "There is a problem; now, what is the solution?"

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