By Binu Paul email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Jan 19, 2013 06:35 AM EST
California Judge Lucy Koh has asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to give a deposition in a lawsuit in relation to an anti-poaching case involving five major technology companies, including Google and Intel.
Referring the internal email exchanges between the five technology companies, the Judge said that the top executives at these firms believed that an agreement to stop poaching each others' employees would result greater financial benefits for them, reveals the in-court reports from Reuters. As a result, Cook was scheduled to be questioned for "four hours" by plaintiff attorney. In addition, attorneys representing Google have agreed that the company's executive chairman Eric Schmidt can be questioned next month.
Five former employees of these companies filed a civil lawsuit accusing Apple, Google, Intel, Pixar, Adobe, and Intuit of inking a secret agreement not to poach each others' employees. The executives who shaped the illegal head-hunting deal believed that such an agreement would eliminate competition for staff, which would result in real financial gains for them. The understanding between the companies also include that collective hiring would be more beneficial than negotiating with individual workers.
Hearing the case in a San Jose, California federal court, U.S. Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the court believes that Google and Apple had entered into a head-hunting agreement. Replying to Apple attorney's argument that Cook was not involved in the anti-poaching deals as he was the chief operating officer at that time, Koh said, "I find it hard to believe a COO would have no say over salary and compensation for all employees."
The Judge is yet to decide if the case should be turned into a class action, which will enable the five plaintiffs to demand a higher financial settlement.
It was revealed in the court filing that in 2007, the then Apple CEO Steve Jobs had emailed Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt to refrain from its attempts to poach an Apple engineer.
In April 2012, the defendants, including Apple came together to get the lawsuit dismissed; however, Koh refused to do that as she believed that there was a high possibility of collusion. Top executives of several other companies, including Intel chief executive Paul Otellini, were scheduled for depositions.
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