Google begged Steve Jobs for permission to hire engineers for its new Paris office. Guess what happened next…

“Today I’m in San Jose, attending a hearing in the salary fixing lawsuit brought against Apple, Google and other tech giants. I’ll have more on that soon,” Mark Ames writes for PandoDaily. “In the meantime, one the most interesting misconceptions I’ve heard about the ‘Techtopus‘ conspiracy is that, while these secret deals to fix recruiting were bad (and illegal), they were also needed to protect innovation by keeping teams together while avoiding spiraling costs.”

“That was said to me, almost verbatim, over dinner by an industry insider, who quickly understood he’d said something wrong— ‘But of course, it’s illegal, so it’s wrong,’ he corrected himself,” Ames writes. “The view that whatever Jobs and Google did to deny workers wages and lock up talent was necessary for innovation is likely much more widely held than publicly uttered. And yet, all the evidence in the pre-trial demonstrates the very opposite: That the non-solicitations stifled innovation.”

Ames writes, “A perfect example of this can be found in emails and deposition testimony which have emerged, and been reviewed by PandoDaily, in the run up to the trial. The episode occurs in the spring of 2006, just a year after Google and Apple first forged their core secret non-poaching agreements.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dan K.” and “Sarah” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
A whiff of settlement in Silicon Valley anti-poaching case – March 28, 2014
Steve Jobs wasn’t okay with Google hiring even former Apple engineers – March 27, 2014
Judge Koh: 60,000 Silicon Valley workers may pursue collusion case against Apple, Google, others as group – January 14, 2014
Steve Jobs threatened patent suit to enforce no-hire policy, according to court filing – January 23, 2013
Judge Koh orders Apple CEO Tim Cook to four hours of questioning in anti-poaching case – January 17, 2013
Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm fail to get staff-poaching antitrust lawsuit dismissed – April 19, 2012
Court filing: Steve Jobs told Google’s Schmidt to stop poaching workers – January 27, 2012
Did Apple CEO Steve Jobs ask Palm’s Colligan to collude? – August 20, 2009
Did Apple and Google make an anti-poaching deal? – August 9, 2009


  1. I don’t see how this should be illegal. If I have employees and I want them to work closely or in partnership with your company, giving you access to my talent pool it is not unreasonable that you should agree not to try and steel those employees. Now if the agreement not to hire my employees that contact you there is an issue.

    1. And that is exactly the issue. The “gentlemen’s agreement” allegedly provided not only that Silicon Valley firms would not accept applications from current employees of their competitors, but also from *former* employees. I.e., once you were hired, you could never leave your initial employer except when you left the industry forever. That left employees with no bargaining power as individuals or collectively. That isn’t just a repudiation of the free market. It is quite expressly illegal… If true, and nobody is taking much trouble to deny it. They are just blaming it on former executives rather than take responsibility themselves.

  2. Steve then mentally instructed his three rottweilers to sit
    outside Eric Schmidt’s house and stare at the windows.
    Eric leaves a message on Steve’s voicemail.
    “Are these your dogs? This is kind of creepy.”
    But they never ask again about hiring ex-Apple

    (this is where I had hoped the story would go
    after the alluring ‘guess what happened next’)

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