Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Walt Disney's Pixar unit, Intuit and others are in advanced talks with the US Department of Justice over claims the industry giants colluded to keep staff wages down.
According to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, the companies agreed not to poach each other's employees, which prevented some from earning higher salaries.
"If negotiations falter, both sides could be headed for a defining court battle that could help decide the legality of such arrangements throughout the US economy," the WSJ notes.
If the US Department of Justice wins, it could open the floodgates for private claimants, even a class action by employees, the newspaper adds. "A settlement would allow the Justice Department to halt the practice, without the companies having to admit to any legal violations." The companies involved all declined comment on the story.