Today we responded to EA’s claims which we believe have no merit. We also filed a counterclaim which addresses actions by EA we believe to be anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements. We look forward to getting back to focusing all our efforts on delighting our players.
The juiciest of the three responses is the counterclaim, which alleges that EA was so incensed by the departure of several of its executives for Zynga that it tried to pressure Zynga into entering a “no hire” agreement. (You may recall that Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm have all been embroiled in an antitrust lawsuit of their own over allegations of “no poach” agreements.)
The truth is that despite years of trying to compete, and spending more than a billion dollars on acquisitions, EA has not been able to successfully compete in the social gaming space and was losing talent, particularly to social gaming leader Zynga. Desperate to stem this exodus, EA undertook an anti-competitive and unlawful scheme to stop Zynga from hiring its employees and to restrain the mobility of EA employees in violation of the spirit of the antitrust laws and California public policy. EA sought, by threat of objectively and subjectively baseless sham litigation, what it could never lawfully obtain from Zynga – a no-hire agreement that would bar Zynga’s hiring of EA employees.