Lawsuit May Cost Tech Giants Over $3 Billion

Apple and Google are among companies accused of violating anti-trust law by making hiring agreements.
5:09 | 04/21/14

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Transcript for Lawsuit May Cost Tech Giants Over $3 Billion
It is Monday. -- from putting first the markets in New York are open and today's big number is three billion a lot of zeros there as of three billion dollars which is how much possible class action lawsuit could cost Google apple Intel. And Adobe. Favor when I'm down Cutler in New -- -- explain what is going on in this lawsuit -- -- finance join us this Monday morning. -- big charges leveled against these Silicon Valley giant so what are the details of -- -- Rights of these of our of course allegations and everyone's innocent until proven guilty but on the surface it looks like some of the biggest companies in technology. Including Facebook. I -- FaceBook actually said -- -- -- apple. Google into -- Adobe and Pixar films before became part of Disney were involved in -- collusion of sorts for they had an. A gentleman -- gentleman's agreement. To say I won't -- from your employees and you won't -- from mine plays and that is. A violation of antitrust law. It's it's obviously clear violation if true and that three billion number could actually be tripled. If they don't settle and then they go to court and the court rules against them well how is -- -- come up with that figure of three billion dollars. Right well that they're taking the average salary for employees in the valley and multiplying it by the number of people involved in this -- slightly to 64000. So and not all that we get equal -- believe it works at about 120000 dollars per employee if they were to settle for three billion dollars but it depends on -- the level employee -- -- so not everyone's gonna get the same amount again if they settle and if that figure is three billion I think that's a starting point really. For the negotiations that are going on right now. -- my guess is that the companies don't want this go to trial because they don't want anymore. During my -- to get -- we're talking write emails phone calls electronic communication possibly back and forth between some of these companies which are. Out -- competitors. Now according to the times the biggest possible. Villain the orchestrator of all this is the late Steve Jobs of apple. Well he was the -- orchestrator and but he looks -- doesn't look good villain that there's a couple of email exchanges with Sergey Brin. A Google -- basically says -- if you hire one of our people it's going to be war. And then there's another one where they there was a recruiter at Google who is trying to go after some people -- apple. That recruiter was fired and then Steve Jobs boarded that information along to another apple executives and just add a little the -- -- smiley face to is he now. Basically saying like yes there you know. I forced them to do this and I'm happy about it. But you know the the real man behind the scenes here I think is Bill Campbell he's this -- -- into it. Real old hand in the valley and he was an advisor to Steve Jobs and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google and Mark Zuckerberg a lot of other. Of the biggest -- in Silicon Valley -- he was kind of the man behind the scenes trying to negotiate what he called a truce. Later between Google and FaceBook and in FaceBook declined it basement and we're not in a play by these rules but. I you know Steve Jobs looks the worst but I actually Bill Campbell as the guy who was point a lot of levers here let me ask you about this and again because this is all of this is as you pointed out innocent until proven guilty -- -- court -- as it was all part of a class action lawsuit. But the potential settlement three billion dollars on the line there how the do you think this potentially pay out for Facebook's benefit given the fact that -- -- -- Zuckerberg apparently had. Wanted no part in any of this. Read well and get this because these these alleged actions go back to the years 2005 to 2000 -- this was before FaceBook -- publicly traded company but when they were. Very hot startup in the valley. And although a lot of companies that were are -- public like Google. We're worried they -- gonna lose some of their top employees to face because that's basically to gain silicon -- you wanna go to the company. That's hot before it goes public because when it goes public -- -- an employee you -- to make a lot of money so Google is very worried about FaceBook and Bill Campbell again -- of intuit. Try to negotiate a deal to -- FaceBook to stop recruiting people out of Google has Google felt that it was competitive threat to them. That it will be hard for -- to retain some of their top employees. When FaceBook was out there you know -- -- a lot of these stock options in front of them. And FaceBook. Which had hired Sheryl -- from rule obviously said no we don't want -- play by those rules which by the way are against the rules. And so they said they declined to friend requests let's put it that way as the -- journal put it. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I think the reality it is very small. -- wouldn't say it's zero though because again the company's of course deny any wrongdoing. But I don't think they're gonna want -- it any more negative publicity come out. Again it be if they don't settle. And they go to trial on the abused at three billion dollars could be triples that we could be looking at a nine million dollar case against them which we all only at the attractiveness and obviously if they -- -- acetylene backed out of court and be. Be done however witness -- -- route finance there thanks so much appreciate that thanks Monday morning pushing -- -- latest headlines right here abcnews.com. Even watching the big number I'm down Cutler York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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