Apple shareholders sue Steve Job’s estate after alleged Californian employment law breach

“An Apple shareholder is suing company founder Steve Job’s estate on the claims that he entered into illegal employment agreements with Google, Intel and Adobe,” John McCarthy reports for The Drum. “The class action lawsuit was filed by shareholder R. Andre Klein on behalf of all Apple shareholders”

“Klein claims Jobs was in breach of the US Securities and Exchange Act by agreeing with the Californian firms not to delve into each corporations’ employment pool,” McCarthy reports. “Klein said that Job’s ‘zealous pursuit of profits’ saw his controversial agreement artificially devalue the company and mislead investors.”

“US district judge Lucy Koh, who will be over-seeing the case, said there was ‘ample evidence of an overarching conspiracy’ among the corporations,” McCarthy reports. “Klein financial demands have remained unspecified, however he yesterday rejected a £195m settlement from the iPhone manufacturer.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Judge Lucy Koh shoots down Apple, Google, Intel wage cartel settlement – August 11, 2014
Judge Koh says she’s concerned about Apple, Google anti-poaching settlement – June 20, 2014
Plaintiff blasts Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel settlement deal in Silicon Valley poaching case – May 12, 2014
Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe settle antitrust hiring case for $324 million – April 24, 2014
Apple, Google, other firms could pay ‘blindingly high’ $9 billion in anti-poaching suit – April 8, 2014
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. MDM twists the truth! The story starts “An Apple shareholder” but MDM slaps on the fake headline “Apple Shareholders Sue”! Hey MDM -ever hear of ethical journalism?

      1. He is filing it as a class-action, which means that all Apple shareholders at the time of the alleged wrongdoing are eligible to be in on the suit, as participants in the class.

        1. I figured it was a class action. But I was not specifically jabbing at MDN or this article. I was thinking about Fox News calling Robin Williams, a coward.

          Since it was a reply to the above post, I am sure it sounds like an MDN jab.

          I have been a little upset lately.

      1. The article is either poorly written or the story complete bullshit. Apple is not join to pay off a suit against the Jobs’ estate any more than the New York Times is going to pay if you libel someone in the comments.

        BTW-How do you Like White Hat Aviator Browser?

  2. Again, show me ANY proof that this was about suppressing wages. This was ALL about keeping talent on hand and not poaching talent from other companies unless the employee wanted to leave.

    1. It does seem a little strange to me.

      From what I understand it was only about the firms not actively seeking out (and poaching) each-other’s staff.

      On the other hand if a job seeker submitted a resumé in the hopes of jumping ship to the competition, it’s no holds bared.

    2. If they knew that the effect of the agreement would be to financially damage the employees, it does not (legally) matter that the primary purpose was to do something else. The employees are still entitled to compensation for the wages they would have made if the agreement had not existed.

    3. brandon, you have yet to address the fact that this corporate anti-poaching collusion was anti-competitive for the workers. It is no more acceptable than price-fixing or other forms of illegal market manipulation.

      Besides, a logical analysis of the situation inexorably leads to the conclusion that the anti-poaching agreement led to wage suppression in comparison to a free market approach.

      In the free market scenario, Corporation A takes notice of an outstanding employee at Corporation G and offers that employee a job with better benefits as an enticement. Let’s say the employee was interested in the offer by Corporation A. If the employee leaves G and goes to A, the employee is making more money. If the accepts a counter-offer by Corporation G to stay then the employee will be making more money. Either was, the outstanding employee is making more money. Eventually, the same employee may be approached by Corporation I. The employee and the free market determines that employee’s value.

      In the anti-poaching scenario, the Corporation G employee is not contacted by Corporation A and the employee likely stays at G, receiving small annual raises. Nothing happens unless that employee becomes sufficiently dissatisfied to begin seeking employment elsewhere. At that point, Corporation G might consider offering more substantial compensation. But it is also possible that the other colluding corporations would be reluctant to respond to the employee’s search for a new job (afraid of the same thing happening to them), thus suppressing that employee’s value.

      If you want a free market, then (just like free speech), you get it all.

  3. I would argue, that regardless of how much Apple ends up paying on this case, the share price of Apple, and the overall success of Apple was benefitted in excess of the lawsuit costs by Jobs action. This has been portrayed as a conspiracy by Apple/Google/et al not to hire each other’s employees. Unless I’m mistaken, this is a distortion. I believe the agreement was not to “poach”, or actively woo an employee currently employed to switch companies. It never stopped, for instance, an Apple employee from quitting his/her job at Apple and then gaining employment at Google. The agreement between these companies naturally must have effected the earning power of a number of individuals, I doubt the number that would have been targeted for poaching is huge. I believe the thinking between Jobs/Schmidt and others involved was something like, “Hey, we are all trying to get something done here and stability helps us all, so as good neighbors let’s not covet each others talent and actively pursue them to leave each other’s company. That could escalate into a war that dilutes focus, and ultimately damages all companies from achieving their goals. Add to this the reality that the employees that were “damaged” by this “gentlemen’s agreement” were never prevented from pursuing a change of employment on their own. The advancement from Silicon Valley over the past decade have been phenomenal, with all boats rising. Not sure that would have taken place if these companies had gone into battle over talent. I’m sure the “conspirators” will lose this case, and they probably should, but I wondering just how anyone is going to access damages. How does anyone know who would have been poached if this agreement had not been in place, and how would that have changed their earnings?

  4. Since Steve worked at Apple for $1 per year. A class action would amount to about $13. Steve Job’s estate did not work for or belong to Apple, all his money came from before that. Also, since Pixar has settled already, I think it’s a done deal.

    Wrong Suite, wrong time.


    1. If someone does something illegal and courts decide that a fine is in order, the source of the offending person’s wealth is completely irrelevant.

      However, I don’t expect to see Jobs estate pay anything. He was acting in the role of Apple’s CEO and Apple will be fined in order to address the total damage it is estimated to have caused. There will be no unaddressed damages to assign specifically to Steve.

      Steve was over zealous in protecting Apple in this case. Fortunately, Apple is so profitable they will barely notice the huge fine they will have to pay.

      1. At the moment, it’s 300 million and I find it funny a judge can say it’s not enough. I mean they are facilitators and come to judge where two parties can’t come to an agreement. Since that’s not the case, the judge is going overboard. If the settlement is not enough, the class needs to get with their representatives, not the judge.

    2. Steve Jobs’ estate gets some of its value from the very same stock this idiot claims was “devalued” by the agreements. . . or gained value, which was the reason Steve Jobs would have entered into such an agreement. His economic theories simply do not hold up to scrutiny. He must have gained value by higher profits during the period of paying the economically injured workers less, which helped raise the long term prospects of the company. The value of the stock has only gone UP since this issue has been uncovered and been in the news. Where is his financial loss?

  5. How did what he claims devalue the company? And how did this work against the saherholders intrest?
    Steves estate is sued.. Why would apple offer a huge settelment like that?
    It does not add up.
    Something fishy about this.!

  6. While the agreement may have primarily been designed as “anti-poaching” (i.e. “Don’t go steel my people!”), the unspoken reason most likely was to prevent leaking of trade secrets that such poached talent would possibly cause to the former employer and future competitor. That makes the whole initiative not that surprising, especially Jobs being the initiator of it, since Apple is by far the most protective of their trade secrets.

  7. ” artificially devalue the company”

    perhaps it was black eye P.R wise but financially? A few hundred million dollar fine?
    a company that makes tens of billions a quarter?

    by making a frivolous lawsuit and thus besmirching further the company as it’s picked up by rabid anti apple press he actually helps in ‘devaluing’ the company further. Apple I’m sure is embarrassed enough, just wants to pay the fine, apologize and move on without it all dragging further into the press…

    1. How long did it take your colleagues to decide that a few hundred million dollar fine was big enough.

      Go Crazy Davewrite. Stick it to them big time. Start calling for billions.


      1. I’m not sure what you’re getting at.
        I see the sarcasm tag on your post though.

        to be clear:
        I’m not supporting the dude suing.
        I’m saying his claim that apple artificially devalue the company is silly as so far the fine is only in the hundreds of millions vs the billions apple makes. Even if the fine gets bigger it’s hardly (i.e not going) to ‘devalue’ apple because it’s not going to hurt apple too much.
        I’m saying his lawsuit because it brings bad press is the thing which is actually devaluing apple. He should just let apple get over this hump quietly and it’ll be better for shareholders.

  8. As a fellow investor Mr Klein, please do not attempt to speak for me. In addition, I am wondering if your lawsuit is in any way devaluing the company and hurting my investment. Are you willing to pay me for any damages you may cause?

  9. So in California you can Sue someone who can’t defend himself (because he is dead)?

    And to Sue someone (a Tort) you must show damages. Did Steve damage this turd, Klein? No, he made him wealthy!

    Why would Apple offer a settlement? Because Judge Koh is allowing people to shake-down Apple. It is cheaper to settle than to be shaken down in a kangaroo court

    Judge Koh, you are a disgrace.

    1. You can sue a dead person’s estate anywhere in the world, not just in California. Otherwise the heirs would inherit all the assets and none of the liabilities. That goes for tort liabilities as well as unpaid bills.

      As in any other lawsuit, the plaintiff will have to prove he was damaged in order to recover. I have no doubt that he can find and pay expert witnesses to testify that the stock would be even higher absent the “conspiracy.” I wouldn’t worry, since the Jobs estate can hire better (and more expensive) experts to make your argument.

      In any case, I’m sure that Steve Jobs had indemnification agreements and insurance to protect his estate’s assets from claims like this. As one of the largest Apple (and Disney) shareholders, his widow will not be reduced to begging on the street.

  10. How does “An Apple shareholder is suing company founder Steve Job’s estate” get a headline claiming that Apple “shareholders” are suing. It is a class action suit lacking class. Stop please posting click-inviting BS headlines. ENOUGH.

  11. ‘zealous pursuit of profits’ offended a SHAREHOLDER? Surely he happily hitched his wagon to Jobs ‘zealous pursuit of profits’ and happily took his share? Can’t his share of the resulting unlawful profit BE his compensation for lost value now? I am a shareholder, by the way.

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