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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
(c) 2005 Sydney Morning Herald


Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer vowed to "kill" internet search leader Google Inc. in an obscenity-laced tirade, and Google chased a prized Microsoft executive "like wolves," according to documents filed in an increasingly bitter legal battle between the rivals.

The allegations, filed in a Washington state court, represent the latest salvos in a showdown triggered by Google's July hiring of former Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee to oversee a research and development centre that Google plans to open in China. Lee started at Google the day after he resigned from Microsoft.

The tug-of-war over Lee - known for his work on computer recognition of language - has exposed the behind-the-scenes animosity that has been brewing between two of high-tech's best-known companies.

Ballmer's threat last November was recounted in a sworn declaration by a former Microsoft engineer, Mark Lucovsky, who said he met with Microsoft's chief executive 10 months ago to discuss his decision to leave the company after six years.

After learning Lucovsky was leaving to take a job at Google, Ballmer picked up his chair and hurled it across his office, according to the declaration.

Ballmer then pejoratively berated Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Lucovsky recalled.

"I'm going to f---ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again," the declaration quotes Ballmer. "I'm going to f---ing kill Google."

Before joining Google, Schmidt was a top executive at Sun Microsystems Inc. and Novell Inc., a pair of tech companies that Microsoft has previously battled.

In a statement, Ballmer described Lucovsky's recollection as a "gross exaggeration. Mark's decision to leave was disappointing and I urged him strongly to change his mind. But his characterization of that meeting is not accurate."

( Source: The Sydney Morning Herald )

Cross-posted to infojunkies.
My comments on the lawsuit are in an earlier entry here.

--
Banazir

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 06:26 am (UTC)
wow - between this post and the earlier one, I don't know what to say.

Academia seems like Switzerland by comparison - the battles seem for more civil and neutral than this chair-flinging bitterness expsoed here.

Btw, can I just say, "DUDE?! He's your uncle?"

Considering his speciality, I'm surprised biotech companies aren't vying for him too - of course none are quite as big as MS or Google...
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC)
The view's looking a bit prettier from the Ivory Tower today
Civil: well, usually. ;-)
*shows you his scars*

But seriously, nobody ever threw a chair at me. Some table-pounding and lunging out of chairs was the most I've ever gotten, and that wasn't a superior.

Btw, can I just say, "DUDE?! He's your uncle?"
Heh, I get that a lot, even at academic conferences. Maybe especially there!

Considering his speciality, I'm surprised biotech companies aren't vying for him too - of course none are quite as big as MS or Google...
How do you mean? Because of speech rec? HMMs?
Take a look at this paper (ISMB, 1993). I'm told it's the first application of EM and DBNs (really an HMM as I implemented it) to ab initio protein secondary fold prediction. There's an acknowledgement of my uncle in the AAAI-1993 paper, because the HMM tutorials I read in order to come up with that are from his dissertation (1988) and Rabiner's paper.

And no, even Merck and Roche aren't as big, to say nothing of relative small fry as Syngenta and Celera, but they can offer people a pretty penny when they are so inclined.

--
Banazir
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: The view's looking a bit prettier from the Ivory Tower today
tell me about it - the guy I work for, Mark Adams, was a co-founder right there with Craig Ventner in founding Celera Genomics. They are the 1st and 2nd author of the human genome...

Crazy stuff I tell yah
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 05:39 pm (UTC)
Small world: Ventner and Celera, TIGR and Salzberg
Did you know Steve Salzberg ( head of bioinformatics The Institute for Genomics Research) was my academic advisor at Hopkins? He was an assistant professor who joined the department about a year before I got there in 1989. In the summer of 1990, I worked on a virus detection project that I proposed to him; you can see the ackknowledgement here. Ventner hired him away from JHU in the mid-to-late 1990s.

My other supervisors were Amy Zwarico (a programming languages researcher), Scott Smith (also in languages and now head of the department), and Simon Kasif (who went to UIC and is now head of a large bioinformatics group at Boston University).

--
Banazir
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Small world: Ventner and Celera, TIGR and Salzberg
hrmmm, boston university you say?

I'm applying there for grad school ;) I wonder if he's in the pamphlet they sent me.

Btw, applying to grad school... holy crap is it ever so scary!!

I have this overwhelming sense of doom about the whole process.
spoothbrush
Sep. 4th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Small world: Ventner and Celera, TIGR and Salzberg
I have this overwhelming sense of doom about the whole process.

I'm in my fourth year and still have the overwhelming sense of doom. Actually, it's gotten stronger.
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Small world: Ventner and Celera, TIGR and Salzberg
AHHH!
gondhir
Sep. 4th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC)
Re: The view's looking a bit prettier from the Ivory Tower today
Err... is "author" the right word? I mean... they didn't ACTUALLY write the human genome.

(did they?!)
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
"Transcriber of the human genome" might be more accurate
Last I heard, Eru Iluvatar is the attributed author of the human genome.

There's a Ventnerist calling himself "Gennatar", the Lord of Genes, who's always burning white trees at the Washington Mall, but he's generally regarded as a kook.

--
Banazir
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: "Transcriber of the human genome" might be more accurate
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
Re: The view's looking a bit prettier from the Ivory Tower today
the publication that accompanied it is written by them, and they were the top guys doing the shotgun sequencing techniques.

as far as the word choice goes... that's pretty much it in the realm of biology.
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
Re: The view's looking a bit prettier from the Ivory Tower today
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
Author of "The Human Genome"
Well, I'll be. You learn something new every day.

I figured Steven was on that co-author list. He's further in than I thought, actually.

--
Banazir
casecob
Sep. 4th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
Re: The view's looking a bit prettier from the Ivory Tower today
oh, and I'll get to the papers in a bit, but I should say that as for right now, I'm stuck doing my undergrad slavery, aka, fraternity rush as we speak, so I'll reply later today on that topic
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Undergrad slavery?
They make you sign a noncompete agreement with other fraternities? ;-)

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
My uncle
Wow. I obviously have not been checking my friends page very closely. I completely missed your entry about your uncle.
No problem - I would appreciate if you could repost the link to that editorial, though. I'm trying to get the word out - and you'd think I have the ear of Google, but it doesn't work that way. ;-)

Slashdot is inundated right now by folks making fun of "developersDEVELOPERSdevelopers #*($&(#*&$(*@^*%^#! developersDEVELOPERSdevelopers!!", but as far as cogent remarks go, as you can see from my debunking of a few popular misconceptions, it's a mixed bag.

YOUR UNCLE!!!
Yep. Check out the family photos from his web site, Kai-Fu Lee's Student Network. He's the tall youth in this picture. (Yours truly is in that one too. :o))

I'm totally blown away. How does he feel about all of this?
It's stressful, but of course he has good legal representation, and IMO he has a strong case. I think the broader reach that MS is seeking in this case puts too many IT professionals' rights at risk for it to be awarded a judgement on the basis of "inevitable disclosure".

As for the specifics of the rest: as you can read in the mainstream IT press, Google is laying it all out. KFL won't be doing speech, nor the specific kinds of intelligent systems R&D that he was in charge of at MS.

I've tried to convey to KFL that he has a tremendous groundswell of support from people, especially in China and North America, who know and respect his work. He's something of a popular science celebrity in China and Taiwan, better known to Joe and Jane College Student than he is even to the average CS major here.

Steve Ballmer seems pretty unstable. Warn [your] uncle to beware of flying chairs!
LOL, I think he knows.

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
masteralida
Sep. 4th, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)
Nice guy, that Ballmer. Told you he was insane. He's gotta be.
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
CEO of the Dance
LOL! Ain't it the truth.

It's a bit of poetic justice that the video page for *developersDEVELOPERSdevelopers* comes up as the top five Google hits for "dance monkey boy". And that's without any Googlebombing, to my knowledge!

--
Banazir
masteralida
Sep. 4th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
Re: CEO of the Dance
It was that video that made me SURE the man had lost most of his mind. Either that or he's a freakin' meglomaniac.

Or is he both?
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
Steve Ballmer: the fine line between "enthusiastic" and "overwrought"
As I've often said of Steve Ballmer, he can be a good thing for a company in small doses, and a very bad thing in large overdoses. He's devoted to the company; he's genuinely enthusiastic, proud of what he does and what his people do, and he sticks to his guns.

The problem is that, like any other CEO, he's fallible (yes, even you, Mr. Larry Ellison), and when he makes wrong business decisions, a whole lot of people can follow him down the proverbial garden path.

That, and crazy whooping and teunceing can give you a reputation for being kooky that's hard to live down. ;-)

--
Banazir
masteralida
Sep. 4th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Steve Ballmer: the fine line between "enthusiastic" and "overwrought"
"Give it up for meeeeeeeee!"

*shakes head*

He's a crazy man, I tell you!
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
Whooooooooooo!
In a statement, Ballmer described Lucovsky's recollection as a "gross exaggeration. Mark's decision to leave was disappointing and I urged him strongly to change his mind. But his characterization of that meeting is not accurate."

You know, sometimes I think it'd be a lot easier for him and Microsoft if their attorneys just played that video and said, "I think that explains it all".

--
Banazir
("and you're worried about a fracking chair?!")
gondhir
Sep. 4th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
Re: CEO of the Dance
Did he go swimming in that shirt?
banazir
Sep. 4th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
Gonna Make You Sweat
Perhaps a more apropos theme song would have answered that question?

--
Banazir
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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