theodp writes "A Bloomberg report that Apple CEO Steve Jobs proposed a possibly illegal truce with Palm against poaching their respective employees is sure to pique the interest of the US Department of Justice, which already is investigating whether Google, Yahoo, Apple, Genentech and other tech companies conspired to keep others from stealing their top talent. 'Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal,' former Palm CEO Ed Colligan reportedly told Jobs in August 2007." The article notes that Apple was probably reacting to Palm's hiring of Jon Rubenstein, who had been instrumental in developing the iPod and went on to spearhead the Pre for Palm (and has now become Palm's chairman and CEO). "It's the story about the importance of charismatic engineers," said veteran Silicon Valley forecaster Paul Saffo. "People don't work for Palm. They work for Jon Rubinstein. One has to wonder how Steve Jobs ever let Jon Rubinstein leave."