The Microsoft-Google fight over Dr. Kai-Fu Lee takes another bizarre turn as allegations are levied in court documents that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had a tempter tantrum involving chair throwing and a declaration to "f*king kill Google" over another Microsoft employee departing to Google.
John Battelle's got a screenshot and extract of a legal declaration in the case by Mark Lucovsky, the former Microsoft distinguished engineer who went over to Google earlier this year and has posted of Microsoft not knowing how to "ship software" any more.
In a November 2004 meeting, Lucovsky met with Ballmer to talk about leaving, with Google being where he was going:
At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office. Mr. Ballmer then said: "F*king Eric Schmidt is a f*king pussy. I'm going to f*king bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f*king kill Google.
The * are mine. We're a family friendly blog :)
For his part, Ballmer denied the allegations, saying in a statement:
Mark Lucovsky's account of our conversation last November is a gross exaggeration of what actually took place....Mark's decision to leave was disappointing and I urged him strongly to change his mind. But his characterization of that meeting is not accurate.
More on other developments in the case from Court docs: Ballmer vowed to 'kill' Google at News.com, including Microsoft documents submitted to back claims of Lee telling Google that he was a VP at Microsoft working on areas "related" to Google as well as "unprecedented" signing bonuses to come work at Google (though given how much the company and many of its employees are worth, $2.5 million here or $1.5 million there doesn't sound so high).
FYI, another former Microsoft employee Joe Beda blogged yesterday about having been out of Microsoft at at Google for a year now:
It is one year later and I'm sure that I made the right decision. I've been much happier over the last year at Google. I'm sure some of it was the excitement of just doing something different, but a lot of it really came from the energy of those I work with and actually shipping product.
Oh yeah, and my non-compete and non-solicit contracts with Microsoft have now expired. If you are looking for new challenges feel free to send me a resume.
Of course, Google's got it own accusations to deal with. Former Google Exec Files Suit Over Alleged Pregnancy Discrimination from a few weeks ago covers allegations that Google unfairly fired a pregnant executive with quadruplets who later lost three of her unborn children. As with the Ballmer allegations, the allegations in that filing (PDF file) raise eyebrows as well, such as:
- The employee called an "HR nightmare"
- The employee being fired over the phone
- The rehired employee given work similar to that of interns and being placed in a remote cubicle
As with Ballmer's denials, Google also denies the allegations in the pregnancy case.