Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It was a long time ago. I got a raise out of it and later retired early, and I'm a pretty average software engineer, for Google anyway. Your argument that I "suffered" when actually they treated me very well by almost any standard isn't going to work.

Based on what I've heard about current salaries for in-demand people, I think it's safe to say that any depressing effect on software engineers' salaries is long gone?

And if not, and this is what holding down salaries looks like, imagine what the housing market would be like without it.

The fact that some "average software engineers" got lucky to join at the right time and a sweet deal (by some metric) does not make a criminal act okay that makes thousands of more software engineers who would join later and did not share the same economic upside suffer. Note that people who joined Google before 2010 are a small minority of the current employees.

> I think it's safe to say that any depressing effect on software engineers' salaries is long gone?

Every problem can be solved with one level of indirection. At scale, all of the big tech report their salary stats to survey firms who "aggregate" them and give it back to them. Yup.

This reads like Stockholm Syndrome at its finest.

You're OK with them paying you less because you still got paid well by some standard? You (and as a result many other people) would be making more both in the past and today if they hadn't colluded.

For at least some subset of those affected by this collusion the salary lost will make a significant difference in their families' and their own quality of life either now or in the future.

It was never OK, but it was settled, they don't do that anymore, and besides, Steve Jobs (who apparently started it) is dead.

And as for the people theoretically adversely affected, you'd have to figure out who they are, which wouldn't be easy, since it's people who were in demand enough that they might have started a bidding war.

There is not much more justice to be had in this case. If you're interested in pursuing justice, why not focus on current problems with identifiable victims?

A bidding war is precisely what should have happened. It's called competition and is the number one way capitalism is supposed to end up serving the public interest.

And reading your comments on this page, I have to ask: are you representing nobody's opinion but your own, on your own terms?

Yes, just my own opinions.

It sounds like someone who made enough money to have their empathy towards others seriously diluted.

Probably no one is arguing that SV programmers have particularly hard lives in the larger picture, but if you get in the habit of punishing collusion insufficiently because, 'eh, I've got enough flex in my budget', you're being a little selfish. That's like boomers supporting an unsustainable social security system: 'Look, it works well enough for me today. And I'm not going to be in the system when it turns sour.'

This was going on at the height of the smart phone wars, which was a trillion dollar opportunity that ultimately made Apple the most valuable company on the planet. If Apple defended its early market position by poaching employees instead of by litigating competitors, there would have been a huge jump in engineer salaries that would have rippled across the industry.

You can see this going on today with autonomous cars increasing salaries for engineers working on that problem, which has had knock-on effects for machine learning engineers and top tier software engineers in general.

As a Google employee, you were especially shafted by the settlement. Google's compensation structure at the time had a significant performance bonus component, even for low performers, but the settlement distribution was allocated based on base salary, so employees at companies with smaller bonus compensation got a disproportionate amount of the settlement.

The critical point is that, potentially, you were a candidate of having your wages colluded to be depressed illegally. Ponder about this fact for a moment. Now, how could you straightforwardly make an argument that you are okay because they "treated me very well" or that it's a good thing because it helps the housing market (less income on your end)?

These are not in any way, shape or form arguments or defences for these practices.

It was never OK or legal but it was settled. I can say that I was happy with the settlement. I cannot speak for others except to say that I don't think I'm all that much of an outlier, so don't write me off, bro.

I still think this is a better argument than people arguing on behalf of hypothetical others they don't know anything about. One data point is better than zero. If you want to pursue justice, find a current problem with some identifiable victims.

Imagine if they had been paying you actual market wages, instead of "collusion-depressed" market wages. Then they came to you and said "Hey skybrian, we need you to take a $100k/year pay cut. You'll still be making a ton of money by any standard and this will help us hire other people for less money, so our business will be even more profitable". How would you feel about that deal?

Perhaps you got a better deal, but the settlement itself was pennies (/u/nostrademons) reported in this thread it was ~1K for him/her but the wage inflation the next year was around 100k).

> I still think this is a better argument than people arguing on behalf of hypothetical others they don't know anything about. One data point is better than zero.

Harh, harh. I must admit, I know nothing about a lot of things. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint however, it grows my knowledge by at least one :)

My main point I'll make is simple -- you were victim of wage depression, it was found out and 'fixed' because it was illegal, and you benefited -- precisely because you were an identifiable victim. Now, imagine if you 'benefited' X to (X+Y) years earlier. Wouldn't you have retired earlier -- if that's your desirable outcome?

Well, maybe but filling in those numbers would be hard.

The reason it makes sense to settle something like this is that it's a bunch of what-ifs and would be hard to prove either way. How important is recruiting for getting people to switch jobs when it's well known you can get a higher salary from job-hopping and some people already do it? Particularly since there is also competition from other companies not in on it, and many people ignore recruiters.

It's never going to be clear whether the settlement was overly generous (a bit of unearned money for us) or whether we would have done much better if it had never happened, so the settlement should have been higher. The illegal collusion stopped, so I guess that's successful government action? Since the market for software engineers was and still is pretty robust, it seems like you could just as easily argue that it was a big success or that it made little difference.

It just seems weird to question the settlement now. Would you want to re-argue a settlement for some bankers who supposedly got screwed a decade ago? Aren't there more important injustices in the world that are still going on?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact