Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Google Is Getting Under Everyone's Skin

Sparks flew--along with accusations of flying chairs--in one of the first hearings last week in Microsoft's lawsuit against Google Inc. over the hiring of former Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee. In written testimony, former Microsoft engineer Mark Lucovsky claimed that CEO Steve Ballmer threw a chair in anger when Lucovsky said he was going to Google, and Ballmer vowed to bury Google CEO Eric Schmidt and kill the search company. (Ballmer says Lucovsky's account isn't accurate.)

Google is doing the killing lately, at least when it comes to recruiting star talent. And it's not just from Microsoft. The company's aggressive search for brilliant engineering talent has created an intellectual fuel shortage for competitors. Google's latest coup: hiring Vinton Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the Internet, away from MCI last week. Research scientist Daniel Russell, formerly with IBM, Apple, and Xerox, also recently joined Google.

In a blog posting, Cerf mentioned Google's success in hiring top IT people. "My recent interactions with many of Google's senior staff have simply underscored my admiration for the extraordinary talent at Google that has been assembled in a short amount of time," he wrote.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, in an interview last week with InformationWeek, downplayed the impact of any shortage of homegrown IT expertise. "We're able to hire most of what we want, it just now takes a few months more than would be ideal," he said, suggesting international talent helps fill in the gaps.

That may be understating the case. Lucovsky testified to Ballmer's reaction about Lucovsky leaving Microsoft. "Just tell me it's not Google," Lucovsky recalled Ballmer saying. The hearing is for an injunction to restrict Lee's duties at Google until next year's trial.

  • 1