Google may not be doing much to convince the American public of its innocence in the lawsuit Microsoft filed over a former executive it hired to work in China, but it is appealing to the Chinese. Google launched a blog in Mandarin this week that presents its side of the case.
Microsoft has sued Google and former employee Kai-Fu Lee, alleging that his hiring by Google to launch a development center in China violates a noncompete agreement Lee signed with Microsoft. A judge on Tuesday ruled that until the case is decided at trial, Lee can only recruit for Google and talk to government officials about getting Google a license to operate there. He cannot set budgets or salaries, decide what research Google will do in China, work on computer search or speech recognition technologies, or use any confidential Microsoft information, the order said.
The Google blog defends Lee's character and accuses Microsoft of trying to scare its employees from leaving to join Google.
"Microsoft, by suing Google and Dr. Lee, is warning other employees who might be thinking of leaving the company," Anna Huang, deputy director of Google's legal department, wrote in the blog. "In fact, this is a short-sighted measure and will inevitably fail. Employees will eventually go to the best companies."
"Dr. Lee is an outstanding leader with excellent management skills. He will be the leader in the engineering research center we are going to set up in China. His honesty and character conform to Google values," the Google blog said. Lee "has never, and will never, disclose any confidential information from Microsoft to Google."
Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Tom Burt said he had not seen the Google blog or an English translation of it but that he had heard about it. "They can post the blog if they wish. They've tried those arguments twice with the court, and they've lost," he said, "in particular the argument that Dr. Lee has done nothing wrong." Burt said the rulings found that Lee "misled Microsoft and worked for Google while being employed by Microsoft."
Google did not return an e-mail seeking comment. (Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.)