Some interesting nuggets have emerged from the mountain of documents filed in the case of Kai-Fu Lee, the Microsoft executive who left the...

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Some interesting nuggets have emerged from the mountain of documents filed in the case of Kai-Fu Lee, the Microsoft executive who left the company in July for Google. Microsoft sued Lee and Google, citing violations of a noncompete agreement Lee signed in 2000, and a key court decision in the case is expected tomorrow.


Most documents have been redacted to protect information the companies say is confidential. One exhibit, however, shows Microsoft was worried about an exodus of employees to Google as early as March 2004 — eight months before Google opened a research center in Kirkland.


Ken Moss, a leader on the MSN Search team, wrote an e-mail March 16, 2004, “Losing people to Google — and a potential solution.” The content of the e-mail was redacted, but the record shows the message was discussed over e-mail that day by a number of executives, including Chairman Bill Gates, MSN head David Cole and Ken DiPietro, the human-resources chief who resigned last April.


Another exhibit shows Google’s efforts to keep Lee’s May 27 campus interview secret. None of the interviewing was held close to Palo Alto or Menlo Park for fear that Lee would run into someone he knew.


So the company reserved a remote building on its campus with a private entrance and no receptionist.


And even execs go through a whirlwind day of interviews. Google scheduled Lee for 11 interviews, including 45 minutes with CEO Eric Schmidt and a half-hour each with founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.


Sweating to oldies



Playing DVDs


About 30 percent of U.S. broadband households have three or more DVD players.


Source: The Diffusion Group


The debate on whether people really want to listen to music on their cellphone re-emerged last week with the launch of the Motorola-Apple iTunes phone dubbed Rokr.


Do we really want one device that does it all, or does it make sense to leave your phone at home when out for a jog or at the gym?


A report last week, “Kids and Teens: Blurring the Line Between Online and Offline, ” attempts an answer.


Written by Debra Aho Williamson, a Seattle-based senior analyst at eMarketer, it found 71 percent of U.S. teens wanted their phone to have an MP3 player, making it the most desirable feature.


Now the question is: Do kids want a music phone with an MP3 player, or a phone loaded with a iTunes and a capacity of 100 songs?


Ad boost


Direct-marketing giant Wunderman expects to increase staffing at its new “Team Microsoft” office in downtown Seattle, from 45 to around 70 by the end of the year, executives said.


For a little more than a year, the agency has done work for four Microsoft groups: server and tools; MSN; home and entertainment; and mobile and embedded devices.


It moved European boss Stewart Pearson from London and former Ford marketing exec Jan Valentic from Detroit. The two will run what’s now its second-largest account, behind Ford.


Who’ll be fired?


The fourth edition of “Apprentice,” according to RealityTVWorld.com, will include appearances by two high-profile celebrity businessman: Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Hollywood titan George Lucas.


Lucas’ appearance will come when the show’s teams devise ideas for “Star Wars” fall DVD release. Gates will appear in a task involving a Microsoft product.


There probably are a few who would love to hear a twist on the show’s familiar cry: Bill Gates, you’re fired!


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