The Most Embarrassing Moment In Technology History

In 2010, it came to light that tech giants Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe were involved in a secret anti-poaching agreement. The companies had clandestine arrangements not to hire each other’s employees, which essentially froze salaries by eliminating the competition for top talent. What ensued was a scandal and a class action lawsuit that exposed the dark side of Silicon Valley. It began with individual agreements, with the earliest known pact being between Pixar and Lucasfilm in 1986. Both companies agreed not to poach each other’s employees and to cap wages. However, by the 2000s, other Silicon Valley heavyweights had entered into similar agreements. Google and Apple had their secret deal, as did Google and Intel, Google and Intuit, and so on. The effect of these agreements was suppressed wage growth for employees. As a result, engineers, developers, and other tech professionals were restricted in their career opportunities. In 2011, the issue reached a critical point, when over 64,000 employees filed a class-action lawsuit against Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar. After a series of legal proceedings, the companies settled the lawsuit in 2015 for $415 million.