Some of the largest employers in the Bay Area are being investigated by the Department of Justice to determine if they have been in cahoots not to recruit or hire away each others' key employees. The story first broke on The Deal, and now appears on The Washington Post. Sources for the Post report that the probe is industry-wide, and asserts that "by agreeing not to hire away top talent, the companies could be stifling competition and trying to maintain their market power unfairly."

This follows on other ongoing investigations by the DOJ in the tech sector -- spearheaded by Obama's new aggressive antitrust headmistress, Christine Varney -- like the one reported last month into board ties between Apple and Google. Larry Dignan at ZDNet says this "has 'waste of time' written all over it" and asks, "Will it have reams of quantitative data proving hiring collusion? Or will it merely have a bunch of anecdotes by disgruntled middle managers that wish they could be poached?"