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Responsibility to employers. Google v. Microsoft SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13, 2007 - Google and Microsoft each claimed victory on Tuesday in the latest round.

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Presentation on theme: "Responsibility to employers. Google v. Microsoft SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13, 2007 - Google and Microsoft each claimed victory on Tuesday in the latest round."— Presentation transcript:

1 Responsibility to employers

2 Google v. Microsoft SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13, Google and Microsoft each claimed victory on Tuesday in the latest round of their bitter court dispute over a top researcher's defection to Google.GoogleMicrosoft Their animosity has grown more acute, or at least more evident, since Google announced in July that it was hiring Dr. Lee, a Chinese computer scientist who established a Microsoft research center in China and more recently worked at Microsoft headquarters on speech recognition technology. For Google, though, the victory claim was backed by one clear-cut result: the researcher, Kai-Fu Lee, will be at work there on Wednesday. Ruling on Microsoft's request to extend a restraining order, a Seattle judge said Dr. Lee could proceed with helping to create a Google research center in China. But the judge, Steven C. Gonzalez of King County Superior Court, restricted him from working on some of his specialties - search and language technologies - or using information acquired while a Microsoft vice president. The dispute is an extension of the companies' increasing rivalry on each other's software turf, with Google offering a growing array of software programs and utilities that impinge on Microsoft's monopolies and Microsoft trying to gain ground in the search engine market.

3 Google v. Microsoft The court ruling restricts Dr. Lee from developing computer-search and natural- language technologies and also prohibits him from setting budget or compensation or defining the research and development to be undertaken at Google's China lab. Microsoft’s General Counsel Mr. Burt said the ruling converted Dr. Lee from being a crucial technical strategist to being a "highly overcompensated head of human resources and leasing manager." Ultimately the case may hinge on differences in employment law in Washington and California. Washington gives more power to corporations in enforcing "noncompete" agreements like the one Dr. Lee signed at Microsoft, which typically bar employees from going to work for rivals on directly competitive matters. As for the lab in China, Dr. Lee said Google had not settled on a location, but thought it would most likely grow to about 50 researchers. "Any endeavor like this begins with getting the people," he said. While on sabbatical earlier this year, Dr. Lee approached Google about leaving Microsoft and then discussed the company's business before accepting a job in July. Google submitted testimony from Mark Lucovsky, a former high-ranking engineer at Microsoft, who said that when he told Microsoft's chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, of his own plans to join Google, Mr. Ballmer threw a chair across the room and threatened to "kill" Google. Mr. Ballmer issued a statement calling the account a "gross exaggeration."

4 Collegiality and Loyalty “… will not injure reputation, prospects, practice, employment…” (NSPE Code of Ethics) Collegiality: Connectedness grounded in respect for professional expertise, and a commitment to goals and values of the profession….includes a disposition to support and cooperate..” Respect: value one’s expertise and devotion to social goods Commitment: shared devotion to ideals Connectedness: awareness of being part of a cooperative undertaking.

5 Loyalty to employer Agency-loyalty: fulfill contractual duties Identification-loyalty: attitude, emotion, identity. May detest the company! Obligations of loyalty: Agency-loyalty is obligatory. But is identification-loyalty obligatory? example: work overtime or a weekend for the goals of the group When does a corporation deserve identification loyalty?

6 Loyalty to employer Misguided loyalty Perhaps identify with the group but feel separate from a conglomerate Converse – Identify with the company, but dislike coworkers Problems with loyalty: Ford EPA tests – falsification by “supervisory technical employees”.

7 Professionalism and Loyalty Acting on professional commitment to the public can be more effective in serving a company Loyalty to company is not equal to to obeying blindly one’s supervisor Obligations to an employer and to public can reinforce each other.

8 Confidentiality Definition: Confidential information is information deemed desirable to be kept secret. But secret with respect to whom? Criteria for identifying what information is labeled confidential: “… coming to engineers in the course of their assignments as confidential” – too broad. Privileged information = confidential information Proprietary information = property, generated within and legally protected, trade secrets Patents.

9 Changing jobs Confidentiality agreement – do not reveal trade secrets General skills and knowledge –intuitive sense of what will and won’t work Should we move to a different field when changing jobs?

10 To Consider During a 1973 CBS interview, a chief executive of Phillips Petroleum was asked what Phillips sought in prospective employees. The executive stated that loyalty was by far the most important feature sought. He went on to explain that in his view loyalty meant buying Phillips's products rather than those of competitors, voting in local, state, and national elections in favor of policies that would benefit Phillips, and staying to work for Phillips unless moving became unavoidable. (The wives of prospective male employees were screened to see if they had careers that might interfere with their husbands' staying at Phillips.) Did the authority of the executives at Phillips morally justify the call for loyalty of this sort? Which of the two senses of "loyalty" do you think the Phillips executive had in mind?


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