Docs: Ballmer Vowed to 'Kill' Google
Court documents publicly released late last week in the increasingly nasty battle between Microsoft and Google over the hiring of Kai-Fu Lee include an outburst by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer where he vowed to "kill" Google.
Mark Lucovsky, a senior engineer who left Microsoft in November 2004, recounted his conversation with Ballmer in a statement to the court. "Just tell me it's not Google," Ballmer said. Lucovsky claimed that when he confirmed that he was leaving for Google, Ballmer reacted violently.
"At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office," Lucovsky said in his statement. Ballmer also had a few choice words for Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
"I'm going to f---ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f---ing kill Google," Ballmer apparently said.
To his defense, while confirming that he did meet with Lucovsky, Ballmer said Lucovsky's recollection of the meeting is flawed.
"Mark Lucovsky's account of our conversation last November is a gross exaggeration of what actually took place," Ballmer said. "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."
Microsoft is firing back as well, exposing e-mails by Lee to Google executives expressing interest in joining the company, as well as transferring edited Microsoft documents to Google. Lee was one of the authors of a white paper titled: "Making it in China: strategic recommendations for Microsoft."
Microsoft also claims that in e-mails Lee was advising the company on the possibility of hiring Microsoft employees for Google's China operations.