Google & three other tech giants agree to pay $324M to settle conspiracy lawsuit

Four tech giants, including Google and Apple, have agreed to pay more than $300 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to restrain salaries.

A class-action lawsuit had alleged that Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel had been conspiring to prevent their engineers and other technology workers from getting better job opportunities from one another.

Filing the suit, workers had alleged that Google's human resources director had asked former CEO Eric Schmidt about sharing the company's no-cold call pact with competitors. But, Schmidt advised discretion, and the HR director agreed.

The suit quotes alleged, "Schmidt responded that he preferred it be shared 'verbally, since I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?'"

The suit also alleged that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs had threatened Palm it could file a patent lawsuit if Palm did not agree to stop hiring Apple's workers. However, then Palm CEO Edward Colligan declared that he was not intimidated by the threat.

A trial had been scheduled to start on 27th of May in San Jose, California. But, averting a high-profile Silicon Valley trial, the tech firms agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit by pay $324 million.

Tech workers, who had filed the lawsuit in 2011, were reportedly planning to ask for $3 billion in damages from the tech firms at trial, and the figure could have swelled to a whopping $9 billion under antitrust law.

An attorney representing the tech workers didn't reveal the terms of the settlement. He said the details would be filed in court by 27th of May.