Microsoft Sues Google Over Search Exec Departure
Google Tuesday announced it had hired Lee to head a research and development center in China. That same day, Microsoft filed suit in state court in Washington. Microsoft claimed that Lee's move to Google broke his contract, in which he promised to refrain from working for competitors within one year of leaving the company.
Lee, a vice president at Microsoft since 2000, not only helped develop the company's search engine, but also was "one of the main architects of Microsoft's business strategies in China," according to the complaint.
Google called Microsoft's allegations "completely without merit." "We will defend vigorously against these meritless claims and will fully support Dr. Lee," stated a Google spokesman in an e-mail.
Earlier this month, on July 5, Lee, a vice president at Microsoft since 2000, gave notice that he had accepted a position at Google. Lee told his department head that Google "offered him the opportunity to build and lead its China office 'end to end,'" according to the complaint filed by Microsoft.
Microsoft contends in its lawsuit that Lee's defection to Google will result in disclosure of trade secrets; Microsoft is seeking an injunction against Google and Lee, as well as money damages.