In an email dated April 16, 2007, then-Intel CEO Paul Otellini told an Intel recruiter "I have an unofficial no poaching policy" with Google. Schmidt later told Otellini, "If we find that a recruiter called into Intel, we will terminate the recruiter."
The court documents included snippets from emails between Apple's Jobs and Ed Colligan, then CEO at Palm. Colligan wrote that a "proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal."
Jobs later threatened to file a patent infringement suit against Palm, according to court documents. When Colliagn held his ground, Jobs responded, "My advice is to take a look at our patent portfolio before you make a final decision."
The suit also alleges, based on documents and expert reports, that "the top companies and top employees at these companies set a ceiling, based on which all or nearly all employees of the Technical Class's compensation was set."
The case also alleges that Facebook's recruiters targeted top Google engineers and programmers. After discovering it was losing employees to Facebook, Google announced a Big Bang initiative under which all its salaried employees got a 10% pay increase and an immediate cash bonus of $1,000, the suit alleges.
The DoJ investgation traced the practices back to a deal between Lucasfilms and Pixar in the mid-1980s. It said the deals then spread to Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe.
Job hopping for better salaries and opportunities has long been common in Silicon Valley. Reports of skyrocketing pay emerge from time to time. For example, the veteran investor Marc Andresseen said last fall that top engineers at Google could bring down stock options and bonuses worth a million dollars for delivering algorithms that boost the company's bottom line.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times