In the wake of last week's antitrust brouhaha over ties between Apple and Google, new reports suggest that the collusion between the two companies might have been deeper than originally thought. A report on TechCrunch cites several unnamed sources who claim that Apple and Google had an agreement not to hire away each other's workers.
"This was not a written agreement and was considered non-official, but it was well-known and followed within the recruitment division of Google," the report claims. Not coincidentally, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an investigation into possible antitrust violations related to hiring practices at Apple, Google, and several other tech companies back in June.
Such an agreement is illegal under US antitrust law and is considered "collusive restraint on trade," which can stifle competition and help companies illegally maintain their market dominance.
In related news, while Google CEO Eric Schmidt belatedly agreed to step down from Apple's board of directors after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began asking questions about the cozy relationship between the two companies, it's now pretty clear that he wasn't benefitting directly from the position. According to three years of Apple proxy filings, Schmidt received no real pay or benefits from Apple for his service, having chosen to voluntarily opt out of Apple's compensation plan. That plan includes pay and stock options. Schmidt did receive some Apple trinkets and computers in 2008, but nothing worrying.
Alas, the FTC investigation continues. "We have been investigating the Google/Apple interlocking directorates issue for some time and commend them for recognizing that sharing directors raises competitive issues, as Google and Apple increasingly compete with each other," FTC Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein said. "We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies."