Elinor Mills at CNET:
A former Microsoft executive can immediately begin recruiting staff for a Google development center in China, rather than waiting until after a January trial, a Washington state judge ruled Tuesday.
Microsoft had asked the King County Superior Court to extend a temporary order banning Kai-Fu Lee from starting the work he was hired to do at Google, arguing that it would violate a one-year noncompete agreement he signed when he became a Microsoft vice president in 2000. Google argued that the contract does not prevent him from doing recruiting work in China.
In his 13-page ruling, Judge Steven Gonzalez restricted Lee to recruiting for Google in China and to talking to government officials about getting a license to do business there but said Lee cannot work on technologies such as search or speech. Lee also cannot set budgets or salaries, or decide what research Google will do in China, according to the order.
This apparently ends this phase. Next up is the trial in January.