The suit was filed by shareholder R. Andre Klein on behalf of all Apple shareholders less than a week after a federal judge threw out the settlement offered by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) and others. There is little question that Jobs and others violated the U.S. Securities and Exchange Act by agreeing not to recruit employees away from each other.
The filing criticized Mr. Jobs’ “zealous pursuit of profits”.
“Jobs’s conduct is a reminder that even widely respected businessmen can knowingly commit unlawful acts in the zealous pursuit of profits.
“In this case, Jobs and the other individual defendants knowingly caused Apple to enter into agreements that violated California law and US antitrust laws.”
Present Apple CEO, Tim Cook, was also named in the suit that promises to become ugly as more and more details come out in public though, of course, Jobs won’t find them terribly embarrassing having passed in 2011 though his legacy may become tarnished. The suit may ultimately make matters worse if Klein is genuinely concerned about the damage Jobs did to Apple’s value as more details of the “conspiracy” become public.
Apple, Google, Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE) and Intel agreed to pay $325 to settle a class-action lawsuit last week but that was thrown out my federal Judge Lucy Koh on Friday last week as she believes that employees are owed more than that.
Judge tosses Apple’s settlement aside
“There is substantial and compelling evidence that Steve Jobs … was a, if not the, central figure in the alleged conspiracy,” Koh wrote.
She cited the fact that it appears that Jobs’ first anti-poaching deals were with Lucasfilm and Pixar before reaching out to the co-defendants in the suit. “After the agreements were extended, Mr. Jobs played a central role in enforcing these agreements,” she said.
He wasn’t, however, alone. Intel CEO Paul Otellini wrote, “We have nothing signed. We have a handshake ‘no recruit’ between [E]ric and myself,” referring to Google’s CEO.
“Such direct competitors for talent would not likely share such sensitive compensation information in the absence of an overarching conspiracy,” she wrote while explaining her decision to toss the settlement last week.
And there is a lot more of that to come soon.