EBay had been accused by the Justice Department of reaching an
agreement with Intuit Inc, a software company best known for its tax
preparation programs, to not recruit from each other.
"EBay's agreement with Intuit served no purpose but to limit
competition between the two firms for employees, distorting the
labor market and causing employees to lose opportunities for better
jobs and higher pay," said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general for
antitrust at the U.S. Department of Justice.
The lawsuit, and similar legal issues involving other technology
companies, highlight the intense competition for talent in Silicon
In this case, eBay and Intuit reached a "handshake" agreement in
2006 involving executives including then-eBay chief executive Meg
Whitman and Intuit founder Scott Cook, according to court documents.
At the time Cook, who was serving on eBay's board, complained about
eBay poaching Intuit employees. Whitman is now chief executive at
Federal and state antitrust regulators sued eBay in 2012.
Intuit was not named as a defendant because it was already part of a
wide-ranging 2010 lawsuit that federal officials brought against six
technology companies, including Apple and Google. Those companies
California also settled on Thursday with eBay, which agreed to pay
the state $3.75 million to compensate people who were hurt by the
no-poach agreements, among other costs.
[to top of second column]
EBay admitted no wrongdoing. It said in a statement that it believed
that "the policy that prompted this lawsuit was acceptable and
legal, and led to no anticompetitive effects in the talent market in
which eBay competed."
"EBay competes aggressively to attract and retain the best talent,
while conforming to the hiring practices standards established by
the Department of Justice in prior hiring-related cases against
other companies," the company added in the statement.
Asked about the eBay statement that it broke no laws, Baer told
reporters: "We have no doubt that this was problematic conduct that
violated the antitrust laws."
EBay's share price was little changed at $51.89 and Intuit was up
about 0.2 percent at $75.92 in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; additional reporting by Dan Levine;
editing by Ros Krasny, Doina Chiacu, Sandra Maler and Chizu Nomiyama)
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