TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Microsoft Sues Executive Leaving For Google-China

Microsoft Sues Executive Leaving For Google-China

Reuters NewsWire (
Wed, 20 Jul 2005 11:04:27 -0500

Microsoft Corp. is suing former vice president Kai-Fu Lee for
violating his confidentiality and non-compete agreement by agreeing to
head up Google Inc.'s new research center in China, the world's
largest software maker said on Tuesday.

Search engine leader Google, which is going head-to-head with
Microsoft in online search and services, said it would open its new
facility in China later this year to attract computer science
researchers and develop new technologies.

Microsoft tapped Lee in 1998 to establish a research and development
center in Beijing. Google said it has not decided on a final location
in China for its new research center.

Lee, a former Carnegie Mellon University researcher, who previously
worked for Apple Computer Inc. later moved to Microsoft's headquarters
in Redmond, Washington to become the company's vice president
responsible for developing speech recognition and other interactive
technologies for computers.

"In his work at Microsoft, Dr. Lee has direct knowledge of key trade
secrets about our search technology, our search strategies and our
business plans in China," said Tom Burt, Microsoft's vice president of

The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court in Washington state
on Tuesday against Lee and Google, seeks to have the confidentiality
and non-compete agreement enforced.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it reviewed
Microsoft's claims and considers them baseless.

"We will defend vigorously against these meritless claims and will
fully support Dr. Lee," Google spokesman David Krane said in an
e-mailed statement.

Microsoft, seeing Google as an increasing threat to its MSN Internet
division, began building its own search engine in 2003 to compete
against Google.

Google, on the other hand, has been expanding its technology into
areas that could threaten Microsoft's online business and potentially
its core Windows operating system.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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