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Apple, Google and Other Tech Giants Settle Anti-Poaching Lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit alleging that a quartet of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies colluded not to recruit each other's employees has come to an end.

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe settled the anti-poaching lawsuit for an undisclosed amount, according to a statement Thursday from the plaintiff's law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

The terms of the settlement are confidential until next month, when the plaintiffs will file their settlement papers in court, the firm said in the statement. Reuters reported the figure is $300 million, citing sources familiar with the deal.

The case began in May 2011, when a former Lucasfilm software engineer filed suit against the four tech companies as well as Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit. Other employees filed their own complaints, and the case was granted class-action status in 2013 -- with a class of more than 64,000 software engineers.

Poaching wars in Silicon Valley 2:24

The lawsuit alleged that the companies violated antitrust laws by suppressing tech workers' pay through methods including an agreement not to actively pursue, or "poach," one another's staffers.

The suit alleged that the late Apple founder Steve Jobs was the mastermind of the scheme, emailing executives from Google with poaching complaints as early as 2005. The plaintiffs said they lost a collective $3 billion in lost wages as a result of that alleged collusion.

The Department of Justice launched its own investigation into all of the firms besides Lucasfilm and settled with the companies in 2010, in which they agreed not to engage in anti-competitive practices.

For the class-action suit, the non-tech portion of the defendants -- Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit -- rolled over in 2013 and settled the case for a total of $20 million. But the four tech companies continued the fight, filing court documents including requests for summary judgment to end the case.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh denied those judgment requests from Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe at the end of March, and the case was set to go to trial in California on May 27.