Four big technology companies involved in a wage-fixing scandal will reportedly add $90 million to top off an earlier proposed settlement that was rejected by a federal judge as too low. The overall deal is now reportedly worth $415 million, which will be distributed to current and former engineers at Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel, and to the lawyers who are representing them in a long-running class action case.
News of the revised settlement came Tuesday night via Reuters, which reported that the tech companies had decided to end an appeal of an August court ruling in which U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh concluded that an initial proposed settlement of $324.5 million was too low, and that any revised figure would have to be at least $380 million. The New York Times, citing a source close to the case, reported the latest $415 million figure.
While these proposed settlement figures are peanuts for the giant tech companies, the antitrust issues at the heart of the case — especially the corporate skullduggery by powerful executives like the late [company]Apple[/company] CEO Steve Jobs — have been a source of fascination for Silicon Valley. These included a set of arrangements in which the companies kept “do no poach” lists as part of a conspiracy to suppress wages for engineers.
Judge Koh’s decision to reject the original $324.5 million proposal came after she compared it to an analogous wage-fixing settlement (involving [company]Pixar[/company], [company]LucasFilm[/company] and [company]Intuit[/company]) that paid the affected engineers a higher per capita amount.
Despite all the fuss, however, the revised deal will only produce modest payouts. After the lawyers receive their expected contingency fee of about 25 percent, the 64,000 or so engineers covered by the deal will likely receive a few thousand dollars each.