After a protracted legal battle, Reuters reports Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe will settle a lawsuit claiming they conspired to pay their employees far less than they deserved. These companies got a very good deal.

The suit, which represented over 60,000 tech workers over many years of potential wage losses, alleges that top tech executives—including Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt—agreed to leave employees alone at rival companies in order to artificially deflate competitive hiring offers. Vanity Fair explains:

A non-poaching agreement hurts employees by preventing them from seeking the best jobs at the available highest wages. By conspiring together, Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel, clearly among the biggest tech firms in the country, would have reduced the need to counter competitive offers or aggressively compensate employees to keep them happy.

Aggressive compensation was something these same execs never had to worry about. Reuters India notes the $324 million payout is significantly less than the roughly nine billion dollar damages these companies could've been subject to had the suit gone to trial. It's also only around $100 million or so more than the chief executives of those companies make in a single year.

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