Development tools company Borland is suing Microsoft for unfair competition, claiming its rival has a strategy to damage Borland by stealing key members of its staff.
Borland is charging Microsoft with poaching 34 of its staff over a 30 month period. Among the key staff who have been lured to Microsoft is former chief technology officer, Paul Gross,who was responsible for looking after Borland's overall business direction.
Gross is now vice president of the Internet platform and tools division at Microsoft. Another key Borland employee now at Microsoft is Anders Heijlsberg, former product architect and generally regarded as the driving force behind Borland's much heralded Delphi RAD tool. Heijlsberg is now on the team responsible for building Visual J .
"We are losing key employees to a major competitor (Microsoft)," said Delbert Yocam, chairman and chief executive officer at Borland. "Microsoft has specifically targeted Borland because they view us as a competitive threat," Yocam continued. "We must protect ourselves from what we believe is a systematic effort to impair our company's ability to compete and continue to deliver leading development tools that support open industry standards. I have taken this action to prevent Microsoft from continuing to raid Borland."
Yocam stressed the action was not directed at any current or former Borland employees. "It is about legitimate, fair and open competition, in an increasingly monopolistic market dominated by Microsoft." Yocam accused Microsoft of violating fundamental business ethics.
Nigel Brown, sales and marketing director of Borland UK, said: "We are happy to compete with Microsoft on a technology viewpoint and are confident that Borland products will always beat Microsoft's on this basis."
Microsoft refused to comment.
BORLAND: DUST-UP WITH MS
Borland has accused Microsoft of:
- Recruiting 34 of its employees over a 30-month period
- Paying lavish signing bonuses to lure some Borland employees away
- Hiring employees and immediately sending them on sabbaticals or holidays, for up to a month at a time
- Sending limousines to pick up Borland employees from its headquarters to take them out to lunch.
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