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Google reportedly hired away Apple senior director for 'secret project'

A new report claims Google has managed to hire away Apple's senior director of product integrity to work on a "secret project" in its highest-level recruitment pull from its rival.

VentureBeat claims to have learned that Simon Prakash, an eight-year Apple veteran whose LinkedIn profile currently lists him as Senior Director of Product Integrity, is leaving the company for Google. Report author Dean Takahashi called the new hire "historic" for Google, as Prakash is reportedly the most senior person that the Mountain View, Calif., company has recruited away from Apple.

In his new role at Google, Prakash will allegedly work on a "secret project" that may be led by co-founder Sergei Brin. Brin is believed to be in charge of a number of clandestine research and development projects at the company, including an "X" lab that works on speculative technology.

Apple has viewed losing its workers to Google as a problem in the past. In 2007, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs sent an email to then Google CEO Eric Schmidt asking that the company not actively pursue Apple's employees.

"I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this," Jobs wrote. Schmidt took immediate action and one of the offending employees was promptly dismissed.

In 2009, reports claimed that the two companies had unwritten agreements not to go after each other's employees. The U.S. Department of Justice also opened an investigation into whether several major technology companies, including Apple and Google, had entered into such agreements illegally. The companies eventually settled with the DoJ and were ordered not to make "no solicitation agreements" for five years.

The Justice Department investigation sparked a class-action lawsuit from former employees that alleged the companies had conspired to "suppress compensation" of their workers.