Report: Apple Asked Palm for Illegal ‘No Poaching’ Pact

In the tech industry, brain trust is everything, and Apple Inc. reportedly was willing to go to illegal lengths to protect its own.

Two-year-old documents uncovered by Bloomberg reveal an exchange between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and then-CEO for Palm Inc., Ed Colligan, that point to a proposition for a “no-poaching” agreement – that the two would not recruit from each other’s talent pools.

Palm at the time had hired Jon Rubinstein, former Apple exec, to head up R&D for smartphones. Jobs worried that Rubinstein would recruit more Apple workers for the project. “We must do whatever we can to stop this,” Jobs said in the documents, without explicitly outlining a proposal.

Colligan called the insinuated agreement “likely illegal,” and rejected the offer.

It’s not the only collusion cloud hanging over Apple’s head. According to June reports, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible antitrust violations between Apple and Google Inc., arising from a rumored written agreement to stay out of each other’s employee pools.

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