Did Apple and Google make an anti-poaching deal?

“Back in June, before the ties that bound the two companies unraveled and Google’s Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s board of directors, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Justice had begun an antitrust investigation into the two companies’ hiring practices,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“The issue was whether Apple and Google had made an anti-poaching deal — an agreement not to go fishing each others’ talent pool — that could be considered a collusive restraint on trade,” Elmer-DeWitt reports.

“According to Gary Reback, a lawyer who helped persuade the Justice Department to pursue its 1998 antitrust case against Microsoft, companies are generally free to choose not to recruit from their business partners. But a written agreement between two firms to steer clear of each others’ employees could raise questions,” Elmer-DeWitt reports.

Full article here.


  1. I work in a large MS shop and we have reps from MS on site all the time, there is an explicit anti-poaching clause in the arrangement, these are not illegal or unethical. People can of course switch teams, but it must be clear, above board and well communicated, but not “handshake deals” are allowed. All involved must meet several levels of expectations and if a “key” player is involved it requires and extra level of mgmt sign off. This is a non-story at best, and bad journalism at least.

  2. So, what’s illegal and anti-competitive for two companies to agree not to poach each others’ workers?

    Companies often collaborate on things, do they not? Apple and Google have always seemed to be cooperative on different levels.

    Aren’t there time limits to anti-compete clauses?

  3. @HMCIV… a little too much coffee this morning?
    (You’ll find the Caps Lock key somewhere on the left)

    Why would you want Ballmer offed? He’s one of Apple’s biggest allies!

  4. @ Mr. Reeee

    Whenever I do a RANT I have to use the caps lock. Nothing I can do about it, it’s policy. Of the two, I really want Glaser offed because he stole a box of donuts out of my car. Ballmer… I think a duck suit would really help the act.


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