Microsoft takes Google to court over ex-employee

Microsoft Corp. asked a county judge on Friday to stop its newest rival Google Inc. from hiring a senior executive familiar with the world's largest software maker's plans in China.

Microsoft, which already won a temporary restraining order last month to stop former vice president Kai-Fu Lee from starting his job at Google, stepped up its efforts to block Lee from working at Google by asking King County Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez for a preliminary injunction against hiring Lee. Microsoft argued in its motion that Lee, the former head of its Beijing research and development center, is violating a non-compete contract that he signed with Microsoft because he has intimate knowledge of Microsoft's operations in China, its competitive strategy against Google and recruiting efforts.

Microsoft and Google are locked in competition over search and other Web-based technologies, as well as for top software talent. Google plans to open a new facility in China later this year to develop new technologies and attract computer science researchers. The trial is scheduled for January 9, 2006, but Microsoft said that it is trying to fast-track legal proceedings because its non-compete contract with Lee is only effective for one year after his last day at Microsoft, which was July 18."

News source: Reuters

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