Wal-Mart, Amazon.com Reach Settlement

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Monday settled a lawsuit it filed against Amazon.com.

Also named in the suit was drugstore.com — in which Amazon has a 40 percent stake — Richard Dalzell, and Amazon.com backer Kleiner Perkins.

Dalzell came to Amazon.com in 1997 after serving as
Wal-Mart’s vice president for information systems.

The lawsuit was filed by Wal-Mart in January in a Seattle court and the parties named in the original suit filed a countersuit in March. Wal-Mart originally filed the lawsuit last October in Arkansas. Wal-Mart alleged Amazon unfairly recruited top technology executives from Wal-Mart
and stole trade secrets. That case
was dismissed in early 1999.

Amazon said the settlement agreement includes all defendants named in the
suit and settles all claims and counter claims. No damages will be paid by any of the companies.

In Monday’s action, Amazon and its drugstore.com subsidiary agreed to
reassign certain ex-Wal-Mart information systems employees and vendors. Any Wal-Mart property
still in the hands of former associates or vendors will be
returned to the company.

“While we will not speak to the specifics of the settlement, the terms of
the agreement provide us with the assurances of
confidentiality we were seeking. We also make this agreement with the good
faith knowledge that our computer systems and
business processes are protected as all of our companies move forward,”
said Robert Rhoads, Wal-Mart’s senior vice
president and general counsel.

“The computer systems and business processes at Wal-Mart have been
developed in-house by our associates over many
years,” Rhoads added. “We will continue to protect the proprietary systems
and processes that provide Wal-Mart with a
competitive advantage. We owe it to our Wal-Mart associates and
shareholders to protect their interest, investment and trust
as we continue to compete fairly in the global marketplace.”

An Amazon.com spokesman said the company is glad to put the dispute behind it.

“Neither company has any interest or desire to
obtain proprietary information or trade secrets from another company. We
are glad to put this issue behind us so we can keep
our focus where it belongs — on our customers,” said Bill Curry,
Amazon.com’s spokesperson.

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