When Lawyers Send Letters
After the tech crash of the early 2000’s, major tech CEO’s started sending each other emails saying, ‘Hey, why don’t we try not to poach each other’s employees? It could keep salaries from going through the roof.’ Some, including Steve Jobs himself, would call that a gentleman’s agreement. The Department of Justice, however, calls it collusion, and now some of the biggest names in tech history are paying up.
Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have agreed to settle a class action lawsuit for $324 million, Reuters is reporting. About 64,000 tech workers sought a combined $3 billion in damages, and while the settlement is technically a victory, it comes out to roughly $5,000 per employee — a far cry from the roughly $47,000 each that they wanted.
Well, it doesn’t look like Google’s antitrust investigation is disappearing any time soon. The FTC hasn’t decided whether to bring a lawsuit, but the agency is bringing in a famous litigator to help run things. Reuters reports that former federal prosecutor and courtroom badass Beth Wilkinson will join the investigation Monday. She is perhaps best known for helping send Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to death row.
Now, the FTC does not want anyone assuming that this guarantees a lawsuit. Richard Feinstein, who is the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, told the AP that they are simply “delighted to have someone of her caliber helping us on such an important matter.” But former FTC official David Wales was more colorful:
David vs. Googliath
Eric Schmidt made his much-anticipated appearance in Washington D.C. yesterday for the Senate antitrust hearings on Google. Sadly, it was not the show Betabeat was hoping for.
Not only did Congress fail to familiarize itself with how the internet works and seem confused as to whether they wanted to chastize Google or beseech it to bring broadband to their home states. But Mr. Schmidt, who could always be counted on for a wry/terrifying turn-of-phrase during his tenure as CEO, seemed to have been coached into submission.
He did, however manage to sneak in a few quips into his prepared remarks.
The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly on the verge of serving Google with subpoenas as part of a broad anti-trust investigation into Google’s primary money-maker: its search engine business. For months, the FTC’s lawyers have been gathering intel about the way Google ranks search results and related advertising to determine whether it amounts to anti-competitive behavior.
Meanwhile, Senators Michael Lee (R-Utah) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisc) have said they’re “very disappointed” to hear that Google has ignored Congress’ request to have Larry Page or former CEO Eric Schmidt testify at a hearing on competition in search and send their chief legal officer instead. Here’s why we think Google should reconsider, and send Mr. Schmidt to Washington.