|By Maureen O'Gara||
|January 28, 2013 08:45 AM EST||
District Court Judge Lucy Koh has ordered the CEOs of Apple, Intel and Google to show up in her courtroom, each of them to answer four hours of questions about their deal not to poach each other's people.
A civil suit brought by workers who figure they got shortchanged in the process could turn into a class action that could cost the companies hundreds of millions of dollars since Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Paul Otellini were silly enough to trade e-mails about the arrangement.
AllThingsD obtained an e-mail from Google HR that reads, "Google has an agreement with Apple that we will not cold call their staff."
There's also an e-mail from Steve Jobs to then Google CEO and Apple board member Eric Schmidt asking that Google kindly stop reaching out to Apple employees.
In 2007 Jobs also threatened Palm with a patent suit if it poached his people.
The suit accuses the companies of an illegal conspiracy to eliminate competition for each other's employees and drive down wages.
The companies previously settled litigation brought by the Justice Department charging them with collusive restraint of trade.
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