InformationWeek > Microsoft-Google > Update: Microsoft Wins Preliminary Injunction Against Google, Kai-Fu Lee > September 13, 2005

There are many articles out there that say Lee is free to work for Google now….that Google won. But in all the articles it is plain to see that they both are claiming a victory.

What amazes me is that one can be tried on ‘perception’ … I found the following very interesting:

Now the first thing an employer does when an employee leaves is grab the employee’s laptop, take it to the IS department and start looking for evidence that the employee has been communicating with a competitor while still on company time,” he says. “Remarkably often, despite the technological savvy of some of these people, the evidence is there.”

And it comes out in court. As Judge Gonzalez noted in his findings of fact, “Dr. Lee misled Microsoft about his intention to return to Microsoft following his sabbatical and he continued to have access to Microsoft’s proprietary information after he decided to leave Microsoft to join one of its competitors without informing Microsoft. Dr. Lee began assisting Google while he was still employed at Microsoft.”

Such findings are sure to be significant as this case and the countersuit progress. But proprietary information, sensitive though it may be, isn’t really the issue. Perception is.

“It’s the impression that’s created when someone like Lee, who was in a senior position at Microsoft and who was, in effect, Microsoft in China, so they say, transfers his allegiance to Google,” explains Fink. “It’s the implicit message, that he finds Google a more advanced, more attractive, a better company to use his talents than Microsoft. And it’s that message in particular, I think, that disturbs companies and leads to actions like Microsoft has taken.

Very interesting indeed.

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