Ed Colligan

Steve Jobs to Ed Colligan: Dear sir, let's collude

August 20, 2009: 7:47 AM ET
Jon Rubinstein. Photo: Palm, Inc.

Jon Rubinstein. Photo: Palm, Inc.

"We must do whatever we can to stop this."

That's how Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs is reported to have asked then Palm (PALM) CEO Ed Colligan to enter into a possibly illegal agreement to stop trying to hire away each others' top engineering talent.

If accurate, it may be one of the most stilted attempts to collude ever recorded.

Colligan's answer, according to Bloomberg's Connie Guglielmo, who says she has reviewed the two-year-old communications:

"Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal."

Is this really how conspirators talk?

Apparently so in Silicon Valley, where hiring practices long overlooked have come under increased scrutiny by the Obama administration.

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