64,000 software engineers have settled with tech companies over wage collusion


Google's Mountain View, Calif., campus. (By Valério Valério)

Tens of thousands of software engineers have reached a settlement with major tech companies including Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe in a high-profile class-action lawsuit over poaching and lost wages.

The terms of the deal will remain confidential until it's presented to a U.S. District Court judge on May 27, said Kelly Dermody, the lawyer representing the engineers.

"This is an excellent resolution of the case that will benefit class members," Dermody, of the firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein, said in a statement. "We look forward to presenting it to the Court and making the terms available."

E-mails exchanged between Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley execs allegedly showed Jobs pressuring other firms not to poach one another's employees — which, according to the plaintiffs, put downward pressure on their salaries. (Jobs died in 2011.) The more than 64,000 software workers were seeking as much as $3 billion in damages. Under antitrust law, that figure would have been tripled if the case went to trial and the judge ruled in the engineers' favor.

Last year, other settlements in the antitrust case involving Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit came to a total of $20 million.

Update: Reuters is reporting that the settlement is valued at $324 million, total.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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