Apple's Steve Jobs directly asked former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt in 2007 to stop trying to recruit an Apple engineer, according to a court filing.
The email from Jobs to Schmidt was disclosed on Friday in the course of civil litigation against Apple, Google and five other tech companies. The proposed class action, brought by five software engineers, accuses the companies of conspiring to keep employee compensation low by eliminating competition for skilled labor.
In 2010, Google, Apple, Adobe Systems, Intel, Intuit Inc and Walt Disney Co's Pixar unit agreed to a settlement of a Justice Department probe that bars them from agreeing to refrain from poaching each other's employees.
According to an unredacted court filing made public in the civil litigation on Friday, the now-deceased Jobs emailed Schmidt in March, 2007, about an attempt by a Google employee to recruit an Apple engineer. Schmidt was also an Apple board member at the time.
I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this, Jobs wrote.
Schmidt forwarded Job's email onto other, undisclosed recipients. Can you get this stopped and let me know why this is happening? Schmidt wrote.
Google's staffing director responded that the employee who contacted the Apple engineer will be terminated within the hour.
He added: Please extend my apologies as appropriate to Steve Jobs.
Representatives for Apple and Google could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
In a court hearing this week, a U.S. judge said that the civil lawsuit against the companies will proceed, although it may be split up into multiple potential class actions.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, 11-cv-2509.
(Reporting By Dan Levine; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)