Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems have recently reached a settlement with plaintiffs over antitrust lawsuit, Reuters reported.
The antitrust lawsuit sprang from an alleged conspiracy among tech big wigs Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Bill Campbell of not recruiting each others' employees.
The trial was set on May 27. If won by plaintiffs, they would have been entitled to a $9 billion award, amounting to about $140,000 per worker.
Addressing Honorable Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court of Northern District California, lawyers for parties wrote in settlement letter:
"Co-lead Class Counsel and Defendants Counsel write jointly to inform the Court that Plaintiff and remaining Defendants - Adobe Systems Inc, Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Intel Corporation - have reached agreement to settle all individual and class claims alleged in the Consolidated Amended Complaint...
The terms of the settlement are currently non-public."
In an official statement, Plaintiff Atty. Kelly Dermody said the settlement "is an excellent resolution." Intel Corp. and Adobe System Corp. were reportedly singing the same tune.
Chuck Mulloy, spokesman of Intel Corp., said the company decided to settle "to avoid the risks, burdens and uncertainties of ongoing litigation."
Adobe System Corp., in a statement, upheld the company did not engage in what was alleged against them but decided to settle to avoid prolonged litigations. But Rich Gray, a Silicon Valley expert on antitrust, said these tech giants chose to evade trial as damage control against the reputation made after internal emails from executives surfaced.
In March, AppleInsider reported Google might have sparked the scandal as it was the company who initiated recruiting top engineers from Apple Inc. back in 2005. Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, in an email to the colleagues revealed that Jobs was very agitated when it learned that Google was recruiting its employees.
"I told him we were not building a browser and that to my knowledge we were not systematically going after the Safari team in particular. I did not mention we may release an enhanced version [of Mozilla Firefox] but I am not sure we are going to yet," he said.
But Google Engineering Chief Alan Eustace and former Google Staffing Director Arnnon Geshuri told Brin that Google was already in the works of recruiting Apple Inc's three Safari engineers.
Eustace said he had already been in contact with Apple's "absolutely one of the best in the world at browser technology" engineer.
Brin wrote another email saying Google should temporarily stop recruiting from Apple stressing Job called him to say "'If you hire a single one of these people [from the Safari team] that means war."