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Google Claims Lee Case Hurts Talent Recruiting

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The search engine’s China operations could be impacted for over a year unless the court tosses out Dr. Kai-Fu Lee’s noncompete agreement.

They knew when they hired him, and agreed to pay him and vest his Google stock in the first year, that he may not be able to perform work for Google in China, Microsoft claims in court papers filed last week as the tug of war over the services of Dr. Lee continues. A CNET report says Google needs him sooner rather than later.

To recruit next year’s graduates, Google needs to begin that process during the last quarter of 2005. Google says Microsoft is afraid that Dr. Lee’s “powerful reputation” with students would persuade the best and brightest to go with Google after graduation.

Microsoft wants the ban imposed by a Washington court to continue until a January 2006 trial date. That ban prevents Dr. Lee from working for Google, which has tried to get the case moved to California. A change in venue would favor Google, as California law tends to favor a person’s right to work over noncompete agreements.

Witnesses from both companies will take the stand when the next hearing takes place. Microsoft had opposed a hearing with live witnesses due to time constraints. But that hearing will happen next week, and the court will decide whether or not to maintain the ban through the next four months.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Google Claims Lee Case Hurts Talent Recruiting
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