Interesting doesn’t even begin to describe the titanic battle that is being quietly waged between Microsoft and its archrival Google. Ever since Bill Gates had the blinding realization Google was about to eat his lunch for breakfast, Microsoft has been living on the bleeding edge of search. It seems things might be getting out of control.
Gates was right to be worried about Google, which is growing internationally at an unprecedented rate. Google has lured away a number of Microsoft employees over the past year, the most famous of which was former VP at Microsoft, Kai-Fu Lee. It also recently hired former Microsoft .Net guru Mark Lucovsky, fuelling speculation it is developing an alternative operating system.
Google’s growth might also be damaging the health of Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer. In written testimony given in the lawsuit Microsoft filed over Lee’s hiring in June, Lucovsky stated that Ballmer swore, jumped and threw a chair across the room upon learning Lucovsky was leaving for Google. Ballmer then started to rail against Google CEO and long term personal rival Eric Schmidt eventually questioning Google’s long-term existence.
John Battelle published an account of Marc Luconvsky’s declaration to his blog on September 2nd . To quote the juicy part
“Prior to joining Google, I set up a meeting on or about November 11, 2004 with Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer to discuss my planned departure….At some point in the conversation Mr. Ballmer said: “Just tell me it’s not Google.” I told him it was Google.
At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office. Mr. Ballmer then said: “#%$**&@ Eric Schmidt is a@*%#@(* (@^&%^#^ I’m going to #%$**&@ bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to #%$**&@ kill Google.” ….
Thereafter, Mr. Ballmer resumed trying to persuade me to stay….Among other things, Mr. Ballmer told me that “Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.”
Apparently things are much better on the other side of the fence, at least according to this blog posting by former Microsoft employee Joe Beda, celebrating his first year after defecting to Google.
Gates is right to be worried about Google. Maybe he should also be watching Ballmer, especially as it is reported that Ballmer will be attending Google’s seventh birthday celebrations later this week.