Continued from page 1

Intuit general counsel Laura Fennell said in a statement that the company does not believe it did anything wrong.

“We do not intend to enter into the types of broad non-solicit agreements that are prohibited by the settlement,” Fennell said. “The terms of the settlement will not have a significant impact on our business, so we have decided to resolve this matter.”

Adobe spokeswoman Holly Campbell said in a statement that Adobe’s recruiting policies have been consistent with antitrust laws. The company settled to avoid the costs and distraction of litigation, she said.

Technology companies argue that restrictions on contacting each other’s employees encouraged partnerships that spurred economic growth and fostered more innovation. The Justice Department cast doubt on this contention, asserting in court documents that the cold-calling restrictions weren’t made as part of any “legitimate collaboration.”

If the settlement discourages future alliances, “it could do more harm than good for the economy,” said Thomas Lenard, president of the Technology Policy Institute, a think tank that gets some of its money from Google, Intel and Intuit.

It’s unlikely the cold-calling prohibition held down wages because “it was a fairly weak provision,” Lenard added. “It wasn’t a ‘do-not-hire’ or ‘do-not-talk-to-our-employees’ restriction.”


AP Technology Writers Jordan Robertson in San Jose, Calif., and Michael Liedtke in San Francisco contributed to this report.