RealTime IT News

Google v. Microsoft Goes to Redmond

Google's efforts to relocate the jurisdiction of a lawsuit against Microsoft hit a snag when the judge hearing the case issued a tentative ruling to stay the request, according to a posting on the court's Web site.

Judge Ronald M. Whyte, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, made the ruling late Thursday in the dispute over Google’s hiring of former Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee to head its new research center in China.

Microsoft has said it wants the case to be decided in the state of Washington, where a judge ruled last month that the hiring can proceed, with the stipulation Kai-Fu Lee cannot recruit from Microsoft.

Google is attempting to keep the case in California where non-compete agreements are said to be viewed with less rigidity.

Microsoft initially filed suit in Seattle's King County Superior Court in July, claiming Kai-Fu Lee violated that agreement when the search giant hired him.

Google then countersued Microsoft in California, in an attempt to have the noncompete clause declared invalid.

The battle for Kai-Fu Lee, a former vice president with the software giant, underlines a growing animosity between the two companies, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer allegedly pitching such a fit after losing one executive in 2004 that he threatened to "kill Google" over the continued poaching of top brass.

Representatives of Microsoft and Google were not immediately available for comment on the announcement.