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September 6, 2005

The Kai-Fu Lee Saga Continues

Posted by David Hunter at 9:38 PM ET.

Gene Johnson of the AP reports Ex-Microsoft exec alleges incompetence:

In testimony during a hearing on Microsoft’s lawsuit against Lee and Google, Lee said he wrote a memo to another Microsoft executive saying he was “deeply disappointed at our incompetence in China — that we have wasted so many years in China with little to show for it.”

Lee went on to say in the e-mail that he was embarrassed by Microsoft’s business practices and that people in the government joke about Microsoft’s internal politics. But he provided few details in his testimony Tuesday about what exactly the Chinese government was frustrated with.

The former executive testified that one of the lowest moments of his career with Microsoft was a conversation in which Gates yelled at him and said that the company had been “f—–” by the Chinese people and its government. Lee did not clarify the context of Gates’ comments.

In his testimony, Lee also complained that Microsoft had more than 20 business groups operating virtually autonomously in China, with little cohesion.

Among other problems, Lee said, was a commitment Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer made in 2002 to outsource $100 million in work to China. Within the last year, after it had become clear that Microsoft wasn’t fulfilling this promise, Lee said, he was put in charge of outsourcing jobs to China.

Why does this seem like a particularly nasty divorce trial? I guess that’s what it is.

Update: Ina Fried notes an interesting email between two of Lee’s former Microsoft employees and Todd Bishop reveals that even the godfather made an appearance.

Filed under Bill Gates, Coopetition, Employee Retention, Executives, General Business, Google, Governmental Relations, Legal, Outsourcing

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One Response to “The Kai-Fu Lee Saga Continues”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft, Google settle Kai-Fu Lee case Says:

    [...] While not overly important in the overall scheme of things, the legal jousting in this case did produce a comedic moment or two.   [Permalink] [...]

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