Microsoft’s chief executive vowed last year to crush Google, the Internet search company, while a Google executive urged colleagues to pursue the hiring of a Microsoft employee “like wolves,” according to documents filed on Friday in an increasingly bitter legal battle.
The allegations, filed in a Washington State court, came in a showdown prompted by Google’s hiring in July of a former Microsoft executive, Kai-Fu Lee, to oversee a research and development center that Google plans in China.
Mr. Lee, known for his work on computer recognition of language, started at Google the day after he resigned from Microsoft.
Google’s filing included a sworn declaration by a former Microsoft engineer, Mark Lucovsky, who said he met last November with Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, to discuss his decision to leave the company after six years.
After learning that Mr. Lucovsky was taking a job at Google, Mr. Ballmer picked up his chair and hurled it across his office, according to the declaration. Mr. Ballmer then berated Google’s chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, Mr. Lucovsky recalled, saying he was going to “bury that guy – I have done it before, and I will do it again.” He also said Mr. Ballmer vowed to “kill Google.”
Before joining Google, Mr. Schmidt was a top executive at Sun Microsystems and at Novell, companies that also battled Microsoft.
In a statement on Friday, Mr. Ballmer described Mr. Lucovsky’s recollection as a “gross exaggeration.”