Google, Apple, Yahoo subject of anti-trust investigation over hiring practices

The Justice Department is looking into the hiring practices of Google, Apple, Yahoo and other high tech companies to determine if they have violated antitrust regulations. The accusation is that these high tech companies may have violated such laws by negotiating an agreement that keeps them from "hiring away" one another's employees,reports the Mercury News.

The investigation is in the preliminary stages, but it is a startling idea to think that companies would join together to agree to keep their hands off potential employees. Unlike asking an individual to sign a non-competitive agreement (which is of dubious legality in many states), this takes an individual's control of career choices out of the individual's hands entirely.

Whether such a treaty took place, and what Google's role in it, remains to be seen. But it is worrisome how quickly Google has moved from its scrappy, "don't-be-evil" start-up phase, into a seemingly control freak, protect-its-power stage. If it continues on this path, it will become the next Microsoft -- the company everyone loves to hate (following in the footsteps of Computer Associates and, these days, Cisco). What would that make Microsoft? The next come-back king (following in the footsteps of IBM and Apple). Honestly, stranger things have happened.

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