The departure of Kai-Fu Lee from Microsoft when he left his position there of corporate vice-president of Microsoft's Interactive Services Division, in order to head up a new research effort in China for Google has lead to legal action on Microsoft's part. It is Microsoft's position that the take up of such position with a direct Microsoft competitor like Google violates the narrow non-competition promise Lee made when he was hired. Microsoft alleges that Google has encouraged Lee to violate such promises, and is therefore seeking monetary damages.

"He has access to sensitive information, to trade secrets about our search technology and business plans and our China business strategies," Deputy General Counsel Tom Burt said. "He has accepted a position in direct competition with Microsoft in those areas."
Google have remained stone faced with regard to Microsoft's legal actions. The company have declined to make any immediate comment, other than the following.

"Under the leadership of Dr. Lee, with his proven track record of innovation and his passion for technology and research, the Google China R&D centre will enable us to develop more innovative products and technologies for millions of users in China and around the world," Alan Eustace, Google engineering vice-president, said in a statement.