By the Wall Street Journal's tally, after four years, 36,215 billable attorney hours, and 3.2 million pages of legal documents, a class-action case concerning wages and "no-poaching" agreements among tech companies has been resolved. A final settlement for holdouts Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe, means that more than 64,000 technology workers will receive around $5,800, according to the Chronicle's calculations, to settle their allegations that these companies conspired to keep their wages lower by agreeing not to poach each others workers.
"I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this," Steve Jobs, whose emails figured prominently in the case, wrote to Google's Eric Schmidt in 2007 of a recent hire Google made of an existing Apple employee.
Indeed, the period dealt with by the lawsuit was roughly 2005 to 2009 — these days, at least purportedly, no-poaching agreements are outmoded (and salaries have perhaps risen with the change).
Schmidt forwarded Jobs' email to his team, adding, "I believe we have a policy of no recruiting from Apple and this is a direct inbound request. Can you get this stopped and let me know why this is happening? I will need to send a response back to Apple quickly so please let me know as soon as you can."
As CNET writes, the initial case originally sought $3 billion in damages, an amount that could have as much as tripled under antitrust law, landing workers 100,000 apiece. An earlier settlement offer — $324.5 million — was deemed by Federal Judge Lucy Koh to be insufficient.
Almost $41 million of the settlement will be paid to lawyers representing the technology workers, although of course that's less than half of the nearly $85 million they sought.