According to an announcement made by the US Justice Department today, six major tech companies - Apple, Intel, Google, Intuit, Pixar, and Adobe - have reached a settlement in an antitrust investigation. The case centered around an agreement that the companies had to not scoop up each other's employees. The Justice Department calls this "restrained competition" for employees.
Several of these companies had agreements not to "cold call" employees of the other company with job offers. Some, like Google and Intuit, decided not to make offers to the other's employees at all. The settlement "prohibits the companies from engaging in anticompetitive no solicitation agreements." The catch, this will only be in effect for five years. At which time we could go through this whole process again. Additionally, a Judge still must approve the deal.
The Justice Department indicated some of these anticompetitive arrangements went back at least five years. They further stated that this investigation was necessary as it reduced the ability of high tech workers to compete for jobs. It was effectively salary-fixing.
The U.S. Department of Justice has Oracle in its sights and is slamming the software maker with a lawsuit accusing the company of committing fraud in conjunction with a government contract worth millions of dollars, CNET reports.
"We take seriously allegations that government contractor has dealt dishonestly with the United States," said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Department of Justice, in a statement. "When contractors misrepresent their business practices to the government, taxpayers suffers."
According the lawsuit, Oracle's government customers, such as the State Department, Energy Department, and even the Justice Department, to name a few, received deals "far inferior" to Oracle's commercial clients. The lawsuit goes on to allege that Oracle misrepresented its true commercial sales practices, thereby defrauding the U.S.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has already made it quite clear that fighting piracy figures prominently on the Obama administration's agenda. Last week, Biden, along with Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, unveiled the current administration's new strategy on protecting the interests of copyright holders.
The feds have now begun cracking down on movie piracy sites as part of this new strategy. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on Wednesday seized seven domain names, including Movies-Links.tv, Now-Movies.com, TVShack.net, Filespump.com and Planetmoviez.com.
Funds lodged in 15 bank, Paypal, advertising and investment accounts belonging to the sites’ operators were also seized. But the worst is yet to come for these movie pirates as the authorities have launched a criminal investigation against them.
Oracle, which makes databases and other software, said the U.S. Department of Jusice has approved its plans to acquire Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion.
The bid to acquire Sun was first announced in April and Sun shareholders approved the acquisition on July 16, but the deal has been in limbo following the DOJ's extended antitrust review. According to a lawyer for Oracle, the DOJ needed more time to review an issue about the way rights to Java are licensed, the Wall Street Journal reports.
With the DOJ no longer a roadblock, Oracle still faces a few more hurdles before the deal can go through. The acquisition is subject to certain conditions and also needs approval from European regulators, which said it will weigh in with an initial opinion in September.
We reported two weeks ago that the Yahoo-Google search advertising partnership was facing some serious challenges in its discussions with the Justice Department and, sure enough, it looks like the two search giants may decide to give up on the deal. The Wall Street Journal has reported that inside sources said that Google and Yahoo may soon announce their decision to drop the deal, after failing to reach an agreement with the Justice Department.
Nothing’s set in stone yet, though, and both companies official positions are still that negotiations are ongoing. Yahoo’s spokesman said “We believe strongly that this agreement will strengthen Yahoo’s competitive position in online advertising.” Google’s spokesman said in statement that “We are confident that the arrangement is beneficial to competition, but we are not going to discuss the details of the process.”
What will it mean for the oft-courted Yahoo if this deal falls through? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.