Google Gets Limited Use Of Former Microsoft Exec

from the such-limitations dept

The ongoing fight between Microsoft and Google over Kai-Fu Lee has gotten way more attention than it’s deserved, but it’s really just a debate about how valid “non-compete” agreements are. Today a judge made an initial ruling on an injunction that, as many suspected, doesn’t solve very much. In fact, the ruling splits the middle so much that it’s being reported in completely contradictory ways from Microsoft being declared the winner to Google being declared the winner. The truth is (as usual) a bit more complex. The judge has allowed Lee to work at Google for now, as a full trial awaits. However, Lee is limited in what he can do. He cannot work on projects related to search or speech technologies (what he worked on at Microsoft) and he cannot recruit Microsoft employees to come work for him. He can, however, recruit other employees in setting up Google offices in China — but can’t be involved in setting budgets, compensation levels or even research directions. So, the end result is basically a holding pattern. Lee becomes something of a figure head for Google for at least some period of time. He’s there to help attract engineers, but there isn’t much he can actually do at the company beyond that. At least he gets a paycheck and a chance to hang out with Vint Cerf on occasion.

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