Google on Microsoft’s Hit-list

Greetings and Salutations,

I reported in an earlier post that Microsoft (well, Bill Gates at least) considers Google competition and is more like them “than anyone else we have ever competed with”.

Well, over the past couple of weeks, it seems that competition is firing up with pot shots being taken by both sides.

It started with Google announcing (Tue 19 July, 2005) that they plan to open a research and development center in China. In the same release, they also announce that they have hired Dr. Kai-Fu Lee as Vice President, Engineering and President of Google China. Apparently, Dr Lee previously held the position of Corporate Vice President, after founding Microsoft Research China in the late 1990s.

On Wednesday (20 July, 2005), Microsoft announced it was filing a lawsuit against both Dr. Lee and Google, claiming Dr Lee breached employee confidentiality and non-compete agreements and that Google intentionally assisted Dr. Lee.

Come Thursday (21 July, 2005), Google had counter-sued Microsoft claiming that the non-compete clause violates California laws giving workers the right to change jobs and that Microsoft’s restriction is clearly an illegal restraint of trade. Google says they are trying to create an environment for innovators and that Microsoft is focused on litigation and intimidation.

It’s an interesting development after the last year, in which one of Microsoft’s key Windows architects had defected to Google in March, Google announcing that they will open an office in Kirkland, Washington (practically next door to Microsoft’s Seattle HQ), and a consistent set of rumours from MS looking to take-over Google, the development of a and even a .

It’s going to be interesting times ahead …


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