DOJ Stops Silicon Valley's 'No Poaching' DealsHere's a case of settling on the price of a horse after the sucker has jumped the fence: On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that it had reached a settlement with six tech giants over unfair recruiting practices. The DOJ had alleged Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Intel (INTC) and others had agreed not to poach top employees from each other. The feds viewed this as an anticompetitive practice and potentially a violation of antitrust laws. This may have been the case in the tech world, two or three years ago.

But anyone on the ground in Silicon Valley knows that a full-blown war for talent is under way, with checkbooks blazing. TechCrunch reported that Facebook is aggressively competing for Google employees. Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison recently signed up Mark Hurd after the former Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO settled on a severance package. In the meantime, both Facebook and Google have been buying early-stage startups as a means to stock up on critical engineering talent.

The struggle to bring in and keep talent has become even more pronounced with a number of big-ticket IPOs looming, the top three being Facebook, social-gaming giant Zynga and business social-networking titan LinkedIn. At this point, stock in those companies is almost viewed as currency, and option awards akin to slam dunks when compared to performance-related bonuses or other means of compensation.

Everybody Is Competing Against Everybody

Further, the ongoing shifts in the technology world have heightened the sense of competition between big players, with Apple, Facebook and Google all competing over mobile advertising, Google and Apple competing in smartphones, operating systems and browsers, Twitter, Facebook and Google are overlapping on mobile messaging and stream updates, and Microsoft-Yahoo is pushing the Bing search engine hard to take an extended run at Google.

With everyone competing against everyone else in just about everything, adherence to any sort of anti-poaching regime is not only harder to justify internally, but also runs counter to the external priority of showing that your company is constantly upping its game. The wheels of justice have always turned slowly: That appears to hold doubly true in the high-speed, ever-changing environment of Silicon Valley.

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September 28 2010 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

September 27 2010 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Monopolys and Cartels are two areas I don't mind the government keeping under control. I just wish they would. The labor unions have become corrupt cartels which although they did some good in the past, have definately outlived there good deeds. People should have the freedom to negotiate the best deal for themselves. If they don't like the way a boss treats them, they can go to another company.

September 27 2010 at 5:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's kind of funny to read about a "hunt for talents" in the Silicon Valley, given the fact that a bunch of highly educated, experienced and talented professionals, me included, are experiencing problems to find a job in a booming tech field, while a tremendous numbers of incompetent/incapable people keep on being employed and making their carriers out of being "politically correct" and getting along with their managers (most of whom, in turn, are incompetent too. The Valley is going down very rapidly as a result of this phenomena. I'd suggest all those "giants" to pay more attention to a less "famous", but more capable individuals. Which of course requires some degree of non-standard thinking which is not a particular strength in the Valley. Rob Gilmark, Ph.D

September 27 2010 at 1:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to borgilmborg101's comment

You have a PhD and you don't know "phenomena" is a plural? It's either "these phenomena" or "this phenomenon". If this reflects the quality of your education, no wonder you're not competitive in the Silicon Valley job market!

September 27 2010 at 8:27 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

No talk about the visa workers how come?

September 26 2010 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment
Robert Cape

Because Silly Valley runs on H1B's... always has after the first few years, and always will. They're easier to control, hold on to, and work like donkeys, a half dozen to an overpriced apartment.

September 26 2010 at 11:36 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The wheels of justice hopefully will turn for ever on these liars here and in the after life!

September 26 2010 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let me get this straight the DOJ is concerned with promoting competitive business practices?? You have got to be kidding me, while meantime this administration wants to unionize everyone and penalize anyone who won't join union! Facinating how hypocracy is the friend of the leftist!

September 26 2010 at 12:18 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply