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Steve Jobs' Silicon Valley wage-rigging plot costs Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel $415m

L-Koh gives O-K to settlement payout

Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel's $415m settlement with Silicon Valley techies over wage-fixing accusations has been formally approved by a judge.

On Thursday, Judge Lucy Koh, sitting in the northern district court of California, gave her approval [PDF] to a deal that will see the tech giants compensate workers for potential lost wages related to their illegal "no-poaching" pact.

Koh said the settlement, in which the four companies will collectively dole out the multimillion-dollar wad of cash to compensate employees and cover attorney fees, was "fair, adequate, and reasonable," and overruled objections filed by six of the class members.

After paying off the lawyers, the money will be distributed among the 64,466 class-action members making up the plaintiffs in the case. Another 56 people opted out of the settlement, reserving their right to pursue individual cases.

Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel were the four remaining holdouts in the case over a large-scale conspiracy by Silicon Valley firms not to poach each others' employees in an effort to slow escalating wages. The pacts were said to involve executives in the companies' highest ranks, including Apple co-founder and longtime CEO Steve Jobs.

In 2010, the US Department of Justice found the companies had illegally colluded, opening the door for employees to sue in 2011. The four companies had put forward a $325m settlement deal, but the offer was rejected by Judge Koh, who felt it didn't go far enough to compensate employees for their lost wages.

LucasFilm, Pixar, and Intuit were also implicated in the case, but negotiated their own settlements years ago. Facebook was reportedly approached to take part in the plot, but the website's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg declined the invite. ®

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