Microsoft rebuts ‘unfair practices’ suit from Borland

Microsoft is refuting Borland's allegations that it used unfair practices to lure away its top staff. Last month Borland filed a lawsuit in a Californian court, claiming Microsoft recruited 34 key Borland development staff with hefty signing bonuses.

Microsoft is refuting Borland’s allegations that it used unfair practices to lure away its top staff. Last month Borland filed a lawsuit in a Californian court, claiming Microsoft recruited 34 key Borland development staff with hefty signing bonuses.

But Microsoft New Zealand general manager Geoff Lawrie says while he makes no apologies for the company’s aggressive business style, Microsoft is not dealing unfairly.

He denies Borland’s assertion that Microsoft hired away staff to gain intellectual property, saying that Microsoft employees sign a contract stating that they are not expected to bring confidential information from previous employers.

“Intellectual property is the mainstay of our company and we are incredibly respectful of it, not only for ourselves but for other companies also. We don’t recruit people for intellectual property, we hire them for their talent and capabilities.”

Lawrie says that worldwide people move regularly from company to company in the software industry.

“The suit alleges that 34 people left Borland and joined Microsoft over 18 months. In that time Borland went from 1900 staff to about 900 staff. Over that period Microsoft hired 7000 staff and the fact that 34 of them came from Borland is fairly incidental - not something worth getting litigious about.

“The reason people move from an organisation like Borland to an organisation like Microsoft is because we try to create an incredibly attractive environment.”

Borland New Zealand’s general manager says the matter is “in the hands of the lawyers” and would not comment any further.

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