Microsoft Wants Google Hiring Stopped
By Ed Oswald, BetaNews
July 19, 2005, 3:51 PM
Microsoft announced late Tuesday that it would be pursuing legal action against Google as well as a former executive that jumped ship to the search giant in an effort to prevent his hiring. The executive, Kai-Fu Lee, was a vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Services division.
Lee's new role with Google will be as head of the company's new Chinese research and development center. Google announced Lee's hiring on Tuesday as part of a press release regarding the center's opening - a rare occurrence as the company normally does not publicize the hiring of new executives.
"It has always been my goal to make advanced technologies accessible and useful to every user, as well as to be part of the vibrant growth and innovation in China today," Lee said of his new job.
"Joining Google uniquely enables me to pursue both of my passions and I look forward to returning to China to begin this exciting endeavor."
But Microsoft is not happy with the news. Shortly after the announcement, Microsoft released a statement saying that by accepting the position, Lee will be breaking confidentiality and non-competition agreements he signed when accepting his position at Microsoft.
Apparently, Microsoft fears that Lee has knowledge of Microsoft's intentions in China that could assist Google in its plans to expand into the country.
"He has accepted a position focused on the same set of technologies and strategies for a direct competitor in egregious violation of his explicit contractual obligations," Microsoft argued in a statement.
But Google disputed those accusations in a statement to BetaNews.
"We have reviewed Microsoft's claims and they are completely without merit. Google is focused on building the best place in the world for great innovators to work," a company spokesperson said. "We're thrilled to have Dr. Lee on board at Google. We will defend vigorously against these meritless claims and will fully support Dr. Lee."