Wall Street Journal alert July 19 headlined “Microsoft Sues Google Over Executive” reports Microsoft is suing Google over hiring an ex Microsoft employee to head its China division in violation of non-compete and confidentiality agreements.
Interesting in light of Financial Times story July 18 about Google CEO Eric Schmidt described as “Elder statesman who gives Google the edge”. The article tracks Schmidt’s impressive industry experience including Sun CTO and Novell CEO but focuses on how Schmidt is “at pains to deny a strategy at Google that might suggest a conflict with Microsoft”. This lawsuit rather suggests that at least Microsoft sees they are competing head-to-head with Google, doesn’t it?
While Microsoft encourages employees at the corporate grassroots to blog making Microsoft more accessible and transparent, the lawsuit reminds us about the limits organizations place on employees sharing knowledge. A colleague reminds me that “ANYONE with a contract at Microsoft --all have confidentiality agreements?”
No doubt establishing guidelines for employee bloggers that balance corporate openness with protecting an organization’s intellectual capital is an interesting challenge. I note the IBM blogger guidelines open with:
“1. Know and follow IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines.”