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Apple, Google Go On Trial For Wage Fixing On May 27

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the get-your-tickets-now dept.

Businesses 148

theodp writes: "PandoDaily's Mark Ames reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has denied the final attempt by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the class action lawsuit over hiring collusion practices tossed. The wage fixing trial is slated to begin on May 27. 'It's clearly in the defendants' interests to have this case shut down before more damaging revelations come out,' writes Ames. (Pixar, Intuit and LucasFilm have already settled.) The wage fixing cartel, which allegedly involved dozens of companies and affected one million employees, also reportedly affected innovation. 'One the most interesting misconceptions I've heard about the "Techtopus" conspiracy,' writes Ames of Google's agreement to cancel plans for an engineering center in Paris after Jobs expressed disapproval, '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.' Ames adds, 'In a field as critical and competitive as smartphones, Google's R&D strategy was being dictated, not by the company's board, or by its shareholders, but by a desire not to anger the CEO of a rival company.'"

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Fruit post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612291)

Ha ha

Re:Fruit post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612729)

Fucking Slapper

Fire Soulskill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612293)

Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe agree Soulskill must be fired

Don't be evil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612297)

Don't be evil!

This was nothing but a union (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#46612663)

I thought unions were the good guys?

Re:This was nothing but a union (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612975)

But this was the "Cork Soakers Union Local #1"

Re:This was nothing but a union (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613147)

If this was a union, wages would have risen, not been artificially lowered. They artificially reduced labor market competition, because they expected their stagnant departments to benefit, due to the lack of churn, but in fact, they inhibited the exchange of fresh ideas (so they promoted tunnel vision, and the creation of mindless drones).

I am just simple. (4, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46612301)

But is it really worth the virtually inevitable lawsuit for a company as successful as the defendants in this case to cheat the backbone of their operations out of a fair wage (because a fare wage is what the Carnies make) betting on the statistically improbable scenario that no law firm nowhere will pick the cause up for three quarters of the pie?

Re:I am just simple. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612335)

Obviously, they thought they were above the law.

They might be right. Judge Koh has declined to dismiss the case, but there will still be a trial, and after that, two rounds of appeals. They might get away with it.

Re:I am just simple. (1, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#46612735)

Obviously, they thought they were above the law.

Yes, thats exactly what they ruled in court.

Wait, this hasnt gone to trial yet? Maybe they should have just asked you whether the parties are guilty or not, since you seem to have it figured out.

After such nonsense as the Duke Lacrosse trial or the various "hes a rapist oh wait nevermind" cases where someone's life is ruined by a false accusation, you'd think people would learn to wait until AFTER the trial to break out the pitchforks. But then again you cant ever estimate just how knee-jerk internet posters can be.

They might get away with it.

And you've even preemtively broken out the confirmation bias! Bless your heart. If theyre judged guilty, theyre guilty. If theyre judged innocent, theyre doubly guilty. Must be nice to live in a world where you can determine who did what just based on hearing one side of the story as told by a blogger.

Re:I am just simple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612841)

Oh, dear, the poor oppressed billion-dollar corporations are being judged in the court of public opinion. Fortunately, LordLimecat is here to tell off the evil people who dared to look at the facts and draw their own conclusions instead of waiting for the infallible decision of the corporatocracy. I don't know how we'd survive without brave souls like him who are willing to stand up to the insidious hordes of citizens who think for themselves and then use words to express themselves! I mean, words, pitchforks, it's all the same, right?

Re:I am just simple. (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#46613441)

Apparently being a successful company is a bad thing these days. We should just tax them all at 80% tax rate like France, that'll teach them.

Re:I am just simple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612953)

Obviously, they thought they were above the law.

They are above the law. If you are just an average citizen, and you do something illegal, the militarized police will come and break down your door, shoot your pets, and throw you in jail. After selling everything you own worth anything to try and save your sorry ass, you'll be found guilty, then sent to prison, where you will very likely be raped and beaten. In the process, you will lose your job, you will lose your home, most likely any material possessions you might have had, and you will be unemployable once you get out. Society will then exact further payment from you in isolation and respect, "background" checks that prevent you from living in various places, getting loans, and so forth.

And when executives of a corporation do something illegal in the corporate context? They will almost always pay a fine, small with respect to their earnings or worth, money that comes out of the company's pockets, not its executives, and go on like it never happened. And then they go right back to spending money on buying legislation.

You just watch. Nothing significant is likely to come of this at all. Either it won't make its way through the "justice" system, or if it does, it'll be some kind of ridiculous hand-slap. It very seldom ends any other way. Examples are legion. Too big to fail; too powerful to punish; too wealthy to fight.

People keep electing the rich; the system keeps favoring the rich. What an incredibly surprising coincidence.

Re:I am just simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613503)

You would think more victims of our "justice system" with nothing left to lose would kill the judges and police responsible for ruining their lives. Maybe if predators running our society feared for their lives they'd back off a bit.

Re:I am just simple. (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46612961)

Have you ever seen the penalty for something like this cost a company more than they saved by breaking the law in the first place? They've already won.

Re:I am just simple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612443)

Yes. This has been going on for almost 2 decades. They have already reaped the reward of being able to keep their employees together without having to pay them lots of $ or stock. What they end up paying now will be small compared to what they have already benefitted.

Re:I am just simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613357)

The Damage to their reputation as an employer will be irreparable.

Would you, as a contractor or W4, want to work for a company whom actively seeks to reduce your marketability? Think about that for a moment; who else is in on the deal? Whom Else will get in on the deal later on?

Which Recruiting companies have determined if you are working, or previously have worked for, one of these firms and you're unmarketable and blacklisted?

Working for one of these companies then getting laid off could very well be career suicide, even for the most experienced veterans.

But It's rapidly becoming obvious IT staff need to, at the very least, start organizing. I'm thinking a Silicon Valley "Sit Down Strike Week" to get the message across managements heads that if they do not get their shit together and play by the rules, they will be dealing with a colluding audience of people like IBEW.

Re:I am just simple. (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#46612457)

But is it really worth the virtually inevitable lawsuit for a company as successful as the defendants in this case to cheat the backbone of their operations out of a fair wage...

It's not about "fair wage" in most cases, it's about opportunity to work on projects these talented engineers want to work on.

In most cases, the money is something but not the big draw.

These folks bail from Google to Apple, Apple to Google, to work on stuff they want to work on.

Google and Apple (and Intel) are not in a wage fight, they all pay very well.

It's partly about money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612915)

And it affected nearly 1 Million people.

A lot of these agreements were not just about engineers. And many of the people involved also probably made "middle class" salaries in NYC and SF or other high cost-of-living. But it's all just speculation (except you fell into the trap of trying to label it as something about "opportunity", and that these companies pay "well"). Ultimately what it comes down to though is that these companies were conspiring to deprive employees of better pay, better opportunity and they were exerting a downward pressure on wages as a result. If your employees are getting calls from a rival, you're supposed to pay them enough not to leave. This isnt about a bored employee looking for a new project, this is about avoiding having to pay the "in-demand" (real market) rate for employees.

Oh, and just in case you though this was just Google and Apple, here's the list of companies involved:

  • Adecco
  • Apple
  • Best Buy
  • CDI Business Solutions
  • Clear Channel
  • Comcast
  • Dreamworks
  • Foxconn
  • Genentech, Inc.
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Illumita
  • Jcrew
  • Kforce
  • Lucasfilm
  • Mac Zone
  • Novell
  • Nvidia
  • Oglivy
  • OpenTV
  • PC Connection
  • PC Mall
  • Pixar
  • Sun Microsystems
  • WPP
  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • Dell
  • Cingular/AT&T
  • AOL
  • AMD
  • Nike
  • Kelly
  • Adobe
  • Virgin Media
  • Intel
  • eBay/PayPal
  • Intuit

http://pando.com/2014/02/19/court-documents-reveal-steve-jobs-blistering-threat-to-ceo-who-wouldnt-join-wage-fixing-cartel/

Finally! (4, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#46612305)

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe, working together at last!

Oh wait...

Google's Firing of a Recruiter Made Jobs Smile(y) (5, Interesting)

theodp (442580) | about 4 months ago | (#46612319)

After Google CEO Eric Schmidt informed Steve Jobs that a Google recruiter had been terminated for not-getting-with-the-do-not-poach-program, Jobs responded by e-mailing only an evil 'smiley' [pando.com] to Apple's head of HR.

Re:Google's Firing of a Recruiter Made Jobs Smile( (0, Flamebait)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 4 months ago | (#46612863)

Really? :) now equals "evil smiley"?

Since when did :) mean _EVIL_ smiley? When did this change happen? Last I heard it just mean "smile" and I've been on the internet a LONG time so you'd think I'd have heard that it had changed.

Oh. Wait. I see. You're trying to make Jobs sound more malicious by adding that little descriptor (while omitting any such ominous descriptors for Schmidt nor any Google people).

Biased much? :)

Re:Google's Firing of a Recruiter Made Jobs Smile( (5, Insightful)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 4 months ago | (#46612901)

Actually, I think the smiley in that instance could be called evil because it referred to the firing of an employee of another company that he made happen. So, if I sent a knife to someone along with a letter telling them to stab you, and they then did it, then my package could be considered an evil package.

Re:Google's Firing of a Recruiter Made Jobs Smile( (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613729)

Jobs is dead :)

No proof so far (-1, Flamebait)

TRRosen (720617) | about 4 months ago | (#46612379)

Hasn't been any proof of any wrong doing so far. Anti-poach agreements aren't illegal or even unethical. Agreeing not to break the law by going after other companies employees is not a problem. If there was a no hire agreement it would be an issue but we've seen no evidence of that.

Re:No proof so far (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612407)

Hasn't been any proof of any wrong doing so far. Anti-poach agreements aren't illegal or even unethical. Agreeing not to break the law by going after other companies employees is not a problem. If there was a no hire agreement it would be an issue but we've seen no evidence of that.

Actually, anti-poaching agreements ARE illegal in certain states. In particular, California, where many of these firms are based have specific laws that are supposed to avoid collusion like being alleged here.

Re: No proof so far (-1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 4 months ago | (#46612473)

Recruiting a contracted employee is tortious interference and illegal. I doubt that agreeing not to break the law is against the law anywhere. That's what poaching is. If it goes beyond that it's something else all together.

Re: No proof so far (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 4 months ago | (#46612497)

Except that, as these companies make abundantly clear when you're hired, you are not in an employment contract. You are an at-will employee who can leave at any time and who can be terminated at any time for any or no reason. Companies like that because it lets them just fire people whenever they want, and these agreements are simply to let the company have all the advantages of having at-will employees without having to suffer any of the consequences of having at-will employees.

Re: No proof so far (-1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 4 months ago | (#46612541)

No one at being recruited is at will. These aren't tech support jobs they're design and engineering teams. These folks have very detailed contracts. Your not working a new products without one.

Re: No proof so far (2)

nanoflower (1077145) | about 4 months ago | (#46612581)

They are 'at will' employees. The VPs and senior managers are likely under detail contracts but the people doing the actual work will be regular employees. Well paid but still employees that can be released at any moment (in most states.)

Re: No proof so far (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 4 months ago | (#46612583)

> These aren't tech support jobs they're design and engineering teams

That certainly does not mean they are employees, and not contractors. I've often helped train such contractors, and helped them get their development concerns verified by an outside agency so that they're taken more seriously and actually addressed rather than lost in the "not invented here" distaste from headquarters based teams in their own company.

Re: No proof so far (5, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about 4 months ago | (#46612585)

No one at being recruited is at will. These aren't tech support jobs they're design and engineering teams. These folks have very detailed contracts. Your not working a new products without one.

Perhaps the state in which you live permits indentured servitude, but California law restricts what employment terms can be enforced and leaving to join a competitor is an act that is protected under California law.

Re: No proof so far (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612667)

But that, like most facts, doesn't matter to republicans. Since they control the judicial branch now expect them to put these engineers in prison for a very long time. The hate engineers, and even Palin called them "modern day niggers" so expect us to get fucked. They hate technology and us.

Aren't most of these Tech CEOs Dems? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612761)

While I lean towards the left, don't assume collusion isn't just as likely to happen among 'supposed' Democrats as it is among Republicans.

The real problem we have here is companies becoming bigger than god himself (in ego at least). And our inability as individuals or 'collective controllers of the government' to really rake the coals over their feet for acting as such.

Re: No proof so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612825)

Republicans control the judicial branch?

You need to get your meds adjusted, son.

Re: No proof so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612899)

In case you have not noticed, all of these companies are all heavily democratic. They are all in the heart of "Silicon Valley" which is only a few minutes from San Francisco...all of that area is very liberal and of the democratic party. Just look at what the Facebook founders are talking about every day (not having to do with Facebook). You, sir, are totally confused.

They are predominantly "at will" employees. (5, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#46612875)

No one at being recruited is at will. These aren't tech support jobs they're design and engineering teams. These folks have very detailed contracts. Your not working a new products without one.

You're quite wrong. Having worked on secret projects at both Apple and Google, the only thing you get to sign extra above and beyond your original employment agreement, which is primarily a non-disclosure agreement, is layered non-disclosure agreements.

It's actually quite funny, since they bring you an agreement with a project codename on it that you aren't allowed to discuss under your original agreement, and then after that NDA, you are now allowed to learn the codeword for the project you're going to be working on, and you sign an NDA for that project, too.

Very, very rarely you will be asked to sign a vendor or partner NDA, but if you're asked to do that, you are generally compensated for the signing, because it means not working in that area for another company for a couple of years, and the compensation is to pay you for foregoing the opportunity.

FYI, everyone below management director level, including line managers, are "at will", at least in Apple and Google in California, and it's likely the case elsewhere, since some of the work is considered by the Franchise Tax Board to take place in California, if you are managed from California, so California gets to collect income tax on it. The two "Distinguished Engineers" I know at Apple I've discussed it with are also "at will", rather than contract employees.

I'm not sure about the people at director level or above at Apple, or above directory level at Google, since, frankly, the topic has never come up in casual conversation, and generally people tend not to talk about their compensation anyway, unless you are a very close friend or family member.

Generally, both companies rely on options maturation (or RSU - Google calls them GSUs and ties them to performance) vesting schedules to act as "golden handcuffs", rather than contracts. You're generally not a high level contract employee without a parachute (silver or golden).

In case you are wondering, non-competes are also not legal in California, unless the competition occurs as side work during your employment at the company, and generally are not considered legally enforceable in the U.S., unless they continue to pay your salary (plus scaled increases based on past increases, if any were performance related) during the lockout period. You can thank my cousin for this, as he took his non-compete to the supreme court (and yes, they payed him to take the year off at his regular salary to prevent him from going to a competitor).

Re: No proof so far (1)

hax4bux (209237) | about 4 months ago | (#46613479)

I call BS, I work on new products and I can leave any time.

Anybody who thinks this kind of collusion is innocent is (IMO) crazy. Ask your managers if they will work for less money?

Seriously, are you the same people who believe your career is over at 35 years old? Then you better make bank now. And if you don't believe it, then make bank anyway.

Re:No proof so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612423)

As an "Apple Fanboi" I hope if Apple did something illegal they get slammed for it.

Apple has been more open than anyone else about their overseas workplace wages/working conditions that if they have been abusing their Local ones they deserve what they get. This won't however stop me from buying their products :-)

Re:No proof so far (4, Interesting)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 4 months ago | (#46612487)

It all depends on how much lawyer you can afford. This agreement is "likely illegal" and definitely shady. I would say this classifies as a cartel [wikipedia.org] since 7 major tech companies are involved. An anti-poach agreement might be legal between two companies like Ford and GM, but not an seven. There are also possible federal anti-trust, anti-competition, anti-labor, and collusion charges which could be brought as well, but that won't happen since none of these companies did anything nearly as (sic) horrible as Aaron Swartz [slashdot.org] .

Re:No proof so far (5, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 months ago | (#46612501)

Anti poaching agreements ARE illegal in many places, including where this is being prosecuted. I can't see how you can see nothing ethically wrong with your employer going out and actively limiting your work opportunities and supressing your wages.

Re:No proof so far (5, Informative)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 4 months ago | (#46612543)

You can also have employees sign non-compete agreements which limits their right to work for a competitor for X years. However, in California (where the movie industry lives) these agreements are NOT LEGAL. [wikipedia.org] Because of this, the tech giants had to find another way to limit employee mobility and this was it.

Re: No proof so far (-1, Troll)

TRRosen (720617) | about 4 months ago | (#46612557)

Unethical is being under contract with a company and colluding with another one to violate it. If a NFL team talks to a contracted player without getting the other teams permission they are acting illegally.

Re: No proof so far (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 months ago | (#46612601)

Many places any such work contract that prevents you from seeking work elsewhere or talking to competitors for better jobs is also illegal. You seem to be living in some dream world where only laws that benefit the company are valid and everything else can be safely ignored.

Re:No proof so far (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#46612765)

Bringing ethics into it clouds the issue. Its not something we want in society, I think, so its probably easiest to leave it at that.

Re:No proof so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613027)

I can't see how you can see nothing ethically wrong with your employer going out and actively limiting your work opportunities and supressing your wages.

Hence why companies need more H1Bs, where such concerns don't apply for some reason.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612411)

Seriously "avoiding spiraling costs" sounds like the justification for using slaves in 1860 Alabama. If Apple, Goggle, etal end up losing and paying substantial fines the reason might very well be lack of competent legal advice when these arrangements were implemented. Perhaps the companies tried to reduce spiraling legal costs as well.

Re: Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612681)

Exactly. You are right that Republicans want to create a modern age slavery system. It's amazing that they even hate white engineers. Just like that Jason guy that they put in prison for life, they want the same fate for all programmers. You are right about their kind.

Re: Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613405)

Are you being sarcastic, or did you miss the part about the CEO's involved being democrats because you were blinded by your worldview?

Re: Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613807)

Exactly. Our HR director was very clear that if we quit, the Republicans would put us in prison for more than ten years. Because of that, I'm no making less than I made a decade ago. Everyone is afraid to pay higher wages because the Republicans says they will put us in prison and/or on death row for paying fair wages.

Re:Seriously? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#46613127)

The production is done via just in time in ~Asia with long complex cheap supply chains.
The only aspect to "avoiding spiraling costs" would be with very skilled US staff who could move up between brands until wages matched the staff real value.
Smart new firms will find staff anywhere else. Older firms will be left with trapped staff worried about their wages and prospects vs been productive.
Guilds, serfdom and indentured workers have all be tried. If you cant keep staff, perhaps the best staff know next gen growth is difficult with living on gov contracts and advertising via safe expected product lines.

Fucking Apple (0)

koan (80826) | about 4 months ago | (#46612425)

Fucking Apple

Re: Fucking Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612789)

Fucking google

Re: Fucking Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612835)

you guys are sexual deviants. No one in there right mind would want to have sex with either of those whores!

Just the tip of the iceberg (5, Interesting)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 4 months ago | (#46612431)

This is just the tip of the iceberg in Silicon Valley wage fixing, discriminatory hiring, and age/gender discrimination. I would like to see the tech workers walk away with some big bags of cash since most of these companies are paying federal/state taxes in the USA. At least when the employees get paid it will benefit their local countries, states, and communities by re-patrioting some cash through taxation.

To me this is just further proof that large companies can do whatever they want, ignore any laws they want, not pay taxes/wages, and ignore the "invisible hand of the market" [wikipedia.org] any time they wish. The lawsuit will probably be dismissed on Tuesday when the court opens, I am sure someone is writing the check as you read this.

Re:Just the tip of the iceberg (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612569)

They're not ignoring the 'invisible hand'. The entire idea of the invisible hand is that absolutely nothing should be forbidden, and everything will work out in the end. Doing whatever they want is exactly in line with people who tout the all-powerful, magical market say they want.

Re:Just the tip of the iceberg (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 4 months ago | (#46612815)

No, that was not the idea of the invisible hand. It's a nice straw man but it has nothing to do with what Adam Smith wrote.

The invisible hand is just a facile metaphor for how prices are set by supply and demand. Nothing more. It has nothing to do with regulated vs. unregulated markets. Moreover, nowhere in The Wealth of Nations does Smith ever say that the invisible hand will make everything work out for the best.

Come on now... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612449)

Of course they have to "work together" to fix wages.
If one decided to start paying their employees twice as much as the other, the other would lose all their employees to them. There need to be limits to that kind of thing, otherwise they will start fighting over wages, always increasing them to retain their employees until the day they can no longer compete and just decide to close up shop in the US and go for the cheaper Chinese labor.

Re:Come on now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612971)

There are limits. They are legitimately set by the value of the work, as best the employer can determine it. Not by collusion.

Re:Come on now... (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 4 months ago | (#46613277)

Yes, but engineers are expensive, and these companies rely on thousands of them to design their products. If they don't collude to suppress engineering salaries then the only option left is to cut back on executive compensation, which is absolutely unacceptable.

Spon6e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612453)

Re:Spon6e (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613059)

I prefer my goat roasted

Neccesary? (5, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 4 months ago | (#46612477)

Necessary to keep teams together? I don't think so. How about, maybe, paying well enough that people people aren't tempted to jump ship in the middle of a project? Or putting people under contract instead of having them be at-will employees? Sure you can't just fire them any time you want (unless you've got good cause, like failure to do their jobs), but you don't have to worry about losing them at any time either.

These hiring collusions aren't necessary to keep employees. They're only necessary to keep employees without the company doing anything to actually keep employees.

Re:Neccesary? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612553)

> without the company doing anything to actually keep employees.

Well, no. A bit of board member or vice president back scratching, insider trading, and violating non-disclosure agreements about competitors of your "friends" is just the sort of day to day "entrepreneurial spirit" that corporate boards are known for. But none of that goes to the people who do the actual design or construction work. It goes to the board members and holders of voting stock, not the suckers with "stock options" that are always blocked from caching them in whenever there is any hint of profit due to stock laws they can't afford the lawyers to wiggle around, and due to the lack of advance notice to sell or buy *before* the lock-in period happens

But a VP at another company that you just made this kind of illegal deal with? Pshaw! Try and prove the insider trading and its losses to the employees or other stock holders.

Bias much assholes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612499)

Notice how the headlines only mention Google and Apple, while deferring some of the other conspirators to the text?

Bias much assholes?

Re:Bias much assholes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612647)

Obviously a disgruntled employee of one of the companies that weren't mentioned, for not getting due credit.

Re: Bias much assholes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612691)

That's because the Republicans hate them the most. They have said they want Google destroyed and the engineers put in prison. If they are successful expect them to start going after electrical engineers in addition to us software engineers.

Ames' View Too Narrow (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 4 months ago | (#46612517)

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

Yes, needing to offer competitive wages to creative team members would have increased the cost of the individual project, but that need not affect the company's bottom line if it finds cost savings elsewhere, like in executive compensation.

cost (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46612531)

'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.'

If you want to protect innovation, pay your programmers enough. If your product can't cover costs of paying a competitive salary, it doesn't deserve to be a product. Welcome to capitalism.

Re:cost (0)

Sentrion (964745) | about 4 months ago | (#46613333)

But Americans want to be paid too much. We need more H1B Visa professionals who are willing to work for reasonable wages. The future of innovation is at stake, and we cannot let it be shackled to spoiled code monkeys who aren't willing to accept the same prevailing wages that are offered in China and India. If they want more money than that then they should climb further up the corporate ladder where compensation is more closely matched to the manager's contribution to the company.

Re:cost (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 months ago | (#46613815)

H1Bs are not paid "the same prevailing wages that are offered in China and India", since they actually work in US.

Re:cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613825)

Or the project is off-shored, or relocated in the US to places where it is not as expensive to live. And I am not saying that would be a bad thing, as this provides an upper-limit to salaries as well.

moms; 'wrong side of history' shootout a draw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612537)

we're not leaving until it's really even they say http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=moms+against+wmd+on+credit&sm=3 new clear options piling up

let's point the finger at the right people (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 4 months ago | (#46612551)

So, let's see: Jobs is behaving like an a**hole, taking revenge on people leaving Apple and preventing them from getting new jobs. To do so, he threatens a smaller startup, which is what Google was at the time. Seems to me the culprit here is Jobs and Apple, and the victims are both his employees and Google.

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612621)

If it was simply Apple and Google you might be right -- though the fact that Google continued honoring this agreement long after they became a very large, successful company makes it somewhat less believable. However, there are dozens of companies of varying sizes involved, not just the two "big names".

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 4 months ago | (#46612653)

In 2006 Google wasn't exactly "a smaller startup".

They were part of this agreement because they got something out of it - same as Apple.

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#46612767)

Google may well have been bigger than Apple in 2006.

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 months ago | (#46612817)

In 2006 google had a market value of over 100 billion while Apple was worth between 50-70 billion. Apple was NOT the big player threatening the little startup.

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 4 months ago | (#46613131)

Google had a high valuation, but it was much smaller in terms of employees and had few products. Apple was flying high, Jobs was highly respected and had a lot of power because Apple controlled several major platforms that were important to Google's success.

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613289)

bullshit, apple was NOT flying high at that point in time, they were still very much limping along. it was right at the start of when they took off.

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 months ago | (#46613443)

In comparison at the time it was google that could do no wrong and was the high flyer, Apple was doing well but still had a very limited market and product set and were heavily reliant on the music market with nothing else at the time.

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 4 months ago | (#46613489)

So you're saying that the Google manager were obsequious and accommodating because... why exactly?

Re:let's point the finger at the right people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613675)

because this deal was in both their best interests. Why is it so hard to understand that managers are capable of being total pricks to employees, especially of large companies like google and apple. It is a win win for both of them (at least until they are caught).

We all miss Groklaw (5, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 4 months ago | (#46612571)

May I say that we all miss Groklaw's insightful analysis, and very open access to, the core documents and analyses of these cases? If anyone on Slashdot knows PJ personally and can encourage her to accept the problem of email monitoring and return to her legal soapbox, she'd be welcomed. Groklaw's analyses of these cases, and PJ's careful attention to detail were welcome and instructive.

Re:We all miss Groklaw (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613083)

I second that.

And I'm sure a LOT of others do too.

Terrific. They'll just outsource more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612575)

Perfect. They'll just move all the development to Bangalore. Problem solved !

Re:Terrific. They'll just outsource more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613397)

Oh boy are you wrong. Sure the manpower costs in India are small but that is not the whole story. Finding even half competent developers in places such a Bangalore/Chennai/Mumbai is a real problem.
Indians have this annoying habit of putting on the CV/Resume technologies/products that they simply have no skill in. They are ther because someone used them on a project they worked on. I interviewed more than 200 people for 10 developer positions in Bangalore. We got TWO. The rest were next to useless.
The deferential society in India does not help. If you think that an Indian dev will say 'sorry boss I can't do x,y & z because or a,b &c' then think again.

Then there is the quality of the work. Some of it from supposedly experienced people is hardly above beginner level.

Yes I am generalising but you have to change your whole way of working when dealing with people in India on the ground. I can end up costing you more than doing it in the US/Europe.
Don't even get me started on the totally absurd beaureaucy that reigns supreme in India. Just getting a local SIM card for your phone is a real ordeal. Nothing happens quickly there.
It is not the 'developer heaven' is is cracked up to be.

Nonsense (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 months ago | (#46612613)

Nonsense, people have the right to enter private agreements. If this is classified as illegal, then the problem is the unjust law, not people entering the agreements.

How many similar deals exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612637)

How many similar deals exist in other industries where CEO's are smart enough to leave it as unwritten gentlemans agreements and there is no evidence like this to dig up?

Also, this might be the reason that many companies have now started to have policies of deleting all email older than a year, because they are scared that their email archives are more damaging to themselves in court than they are valuable for proving things against others.

Re: How many similar deals exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612983)

Considering Republicans run every one of the top 100 companies, of course this is screwing over nearly all of us in the engineering class they hate us.

Re:How many similar deals exist? (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 4 months ago | (#46613353)

Welcome to Corporatocracy. Which doesn't exist. Because conspiracy theories are always false. And this wage-fixing business is a conspiracy, right?

Government angry it was left out (1, Insightful)

Kasar (838340) | about 4 months ago | (#46612797)

These same companies went to Congress many, many times to get more H1B visas when even technical call center wages were being pressured up to median income levels. It was fine to intervene in market forces when politicians were getting checks, but not if they were left out of the "negotiations".

Fuck Mark Ames. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612805)

That douchebag should go back to Moscow and kill himself with his cocaine habit.

Settling (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612829)

I assume this will reach class action status and settle, with a payout fifteen years from now of $15 (after lawyer's fees) per software engineer who worked in the Silicon Valley area during that time period.

Re:Settling (0)

Sentrion (964745) | about 4 months ago | (#46613413)

Punishing the businesses now will just make it harder for these companies to pay proper wages going forward, and it will cause greater economic harm to the rest of the country. The best thing workers can do now is to just put this whole mess behind them, show up to work, and do their jobs. Our nation depends on the success of these businesses to create jobs that would not exist otherwise. We should be thankful that Apple and Google made the difficult decisions that were necessary to keep good paying jobs and technical innovation here in America instead of India or Korea.

Re:Settling (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#46613573)

Not sure if you're serious...

I'll just point out that Google and Apple cannot possibly have difficulty paying wages to their employees, even if their salaries rose a fair bit and both companies were forced to pay incremental back-salaries to employees current and former and punitive damages. Unless you're imagining that these agreements cut their salaries to a quarter of the "natural" rate or something like that. These aren't companies living on the edge. Their cash reserves alone are measured in billions (in Apple's case, well over a hundred billion).

It's questionable at best whether a company should be allowed to bend the rules if it could not otherwise exist, and I think the better argument is that they should not. But these companies aren't at risk of anything but slightly smaller, but still record-breaking, profits. If anything, you'd think that if wages increased, that would make it harder for incumbent companies to hire, and actually cement the positions of these giant companies further than it is today.

They'll just move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46612949)

If they lose this case, I expect to hear that Apple is cancelling their big project and moving their HQ to another "business friendly state".
Google is already planning on building a slave ship for indentured servants to work outside US borders.
Intel will just complete their move to Texas, which we all know has no problem pulling their citizen's pants down and pushing them over for a business.

Big is BAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613003)

As an ACTUAL conservative (not the phony Wathington DC sort) I have a healthy fear of ANY large organization (too much power concentrated in the hands of too few of those pesky fallible, corruptible human beings). I fear (in the sence of being wary of) big government, and I fear big business, and I notice that they both tend to like each other a lot and they both tend to dislike the individual (and fear/hate the individual who does not go along with their programs).

These companies were not just helping themselves and eachother to keep costs down by eliminating bidding wars over a few talented employees (that would be bad enough, but they'd prefer we looked no deeper into the matter). The truth is that their actions suppressed the wages of ALL tech workers in the US (and almost certainly beyond the US, but I'll leave that to others). Most companies decide what to offer based on the "prevailing wage" in their industry for a given position, and when the titans of an industry all collude to push those wages down, they push down the so-called prevailing wage. Bubba's software firm does not feel pressure to offer a programmer more than Apple Adobe and Google offer for a programmer with similar duties and qualifications. This extends to benefits as well since they contribute to an overall compensation package. I personally detest class action suits as scams-for-the-legal-profession (there's nothing like a lawsuit that makes the lawyers rich while getting $1.50 coupons for each of a million plantiffs) BUT if they are a valid legal theory then this ought to get one, with every programmer and electrical engineed in the country as a plaintiff.

There is also, of course, a MAJOR hypocrisy here: All the companies here support left-leaning politicians and policies (admittedly this may be more about PR and establishing a "we are good guys" image than core ideology) which are often tied to arguments about raising the minimum wage, arguments about a "living wage", and arguments about "income inequality". This is all so very laughable, because these companies were all working hard to keep wages down. Oh, and they don't get to claim that the two issues are unrelated; if you push the minimum wage up over and over again, then over time it approaches the low-end of the non-minimum-wage workers (who, in turn, start to fuss about barely making more than minimum wage). If a company compensates by pushing-up the wages of these slightly-above-minimum-wage workers, then the next layer up of employees starts to complain, and so-on. Not only is it inflationary, but it also ultimately converges on the wages the big businesses were directly suppressing - eventually SOMETHING has to give. On the subject of "income inequality": this was arguably a play to keep the upper-middle-class from being able to close any of the gap between them and the uber-rich investor-class (which CEOs and corporate board members are generally a part of). Let's face it, a company with the annual revenues of Google or Apple could absolutely afford to boost the pay of dozens of top employees (of the sort that were so valuable these firms were poaching them from each-other, which is what they colluded to end) in a bidding war without any fiscal impact that exceeded the level of statistical noise (it's not like they were worried they would be bidding to boost the pay of tens of thousands of employees) so this was not REALLY just about a few thousand dollars but more about authority, power, and control.

thiet ke website ban hang (0)

thietkeweb2211 (3597891) | about 4 months ago | (#46613065)

Necessary to keep teams together? I don't think so. How about, maybe, paying well enough that people people aren't tempted to jump ship in the middle of a project? Or putting people under contract instead of having them be at-will employees? http://thietkewebsitebanhang.d... [dep.asia]

isn't it funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46613657)

So, a couple of weeks ago I was an evil supposedly-one-percenter who was oppressing the poor people of San Francisco by commuting from my little apartment by bus. By bus! The epitome of evil! This week, I'm a poor wage slave whose salary is being kept down by collusion among his evil corporate bosses. I wish people's faux outrage over somebody else's issues would at least be consistent.

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