Article written by jmiller:
Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, the center of a legal rhubarb between Google and Microsoft, left a tidy trail of bread crumbs to the Recycle Bin of his old Microsoft-stationed computer. In it, Microsoft's legal team reportedly dug up some interesting communication between Lee and Google.
When Lee defected to Google last month, he sparked a legal conniption from Microsoft as the software leviathan said, or rather shouted, that Lee was in violation of his non-compete agreement.
Upon inspection of Lee's Recycle Bin, Microsoft says a document was found outlining the terms of an agreement between the star researcher and Google. The document indicates that Google expected litigation after hiring Lee to run Google China.
Microsoft alleges the document also states that should the company take legal action to prevent Lee from taking up his post at Google, the Internet search company was prepared to place Lee on paid leave for up to a year.
Google has taken a two-pronged approach in its defense, saying that a) Dr. Lee's work with Microsoft was in speech recognition technology and not in the field of search; b) non-compete agreements are not recognized by California law.
Microsoft has since won two rounds in court. The first when Dr. Lee was prevented from working for Google until at least September 6th and quite possibly until the conclusion of the trial, set for January. The second came as Microsoft successfully filed for a change of venue in California, moving the case from state level to federal level court.
If the allegations are true, Google obviously thought Lee to be a valuable asset to the corporation and was willing to give him a one-year vacation if necessary while the two companies fought it out in court.