July 28, 2005
Google v. Microsoft: Part II
Posted by Gordon Smith

I have written before about the competition between Microsoft and Google, which recently heated up when Microsoft sued Google over the departure of a Microsoft vice president, Kai-Fu Lee, who is taking the reins as president of Google's China operations. The basis of the claim is a noncompetition agreement in Lee's employment agreement.

According to the W$J, Google called the lawsuit "a shocking display of hubris" and a "charade" intended to "scare other Microsoft employees into remaining at the company." This is interesting:

In a sworn statement also filed Tuesday, Dr. Lee alleged that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told him on July 15 that Chief Executive Steve Ballmer "has been looking for something just like this, someone at a VP level to go to Google. We need to do this to stop Google." Dr. Lee alleged that Mr. Ballmer on July 8 told him, "It's not you we are after, it is Google." In the filing, he said that Mr. Ballmer tried to convince him to stay at Microsoft by offering a new job and more compensation.

Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Tom Burt said he was unable to confirm those comments by Messrs. Gates and Ballmer. He said the general content "is not surprising," because "Microsoft absolutely is seeking a remedy against Google for violating Washington law by inducing employees to violate their contracts."

Business Week just ran an interesting story on Google's (and Yahoo's) recent hiring spree.

So, does anyone have a link to Lee's noncompetition agreement?

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