Poaching

Google's anti-poaching smoking gun

August 8, 2009: 7:02 AM ET

google_apple_logoBack in June, before the ties that bound the two companies unraveled and Google's (GOOG) Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple's (AAPL) board of directors, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Justice had begun an antitrust investigation into the two companies' hiring practices.

The issue was whether Apple and Google had made an anti-poaching deal -- an agreement not to go fishing each others' talent pool -- that could be considered a collusive restraint on trade.

The Times had obtained an e-mail from a Google recruiter that was very suggestive. It asked one job candidate to reach out to another potential candidate.

"It is a bit touchy since he works for Apple," the recruiter wrote, adding that Google had "a nonsolicit agreement with them."

But the authenticity of the e-mail could not be verified and the recruiter, who has since left Google, said she didn't recall sending it.

Now we have what looks like a smoking gun.

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