M$ seeks settlement in Google lawsuit

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Earlier on Tuesday, a Washington state judge ruled that Kai-Fu Lee could immediately begin recruiting staff for a Google development center in China rather than wait until after a January trial, but severely limited the scope of his duties until then.

"We can settle this lawsuit tomorrow if Google will agree to take today's preliminary injunction, keep every word without a single change and enter it as a permanent injunction that will last until July 18, 2006," Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft, said in a phone call. "We can avoid a trial, forgo paying outside lawyers and get back to work competing in the marketplace."

"What this obviously means is we are very pleased with today's ruling and we are prepared to back up these words with concrete deeds that will bring the entire case to a close if Google will agree to do the same," he said.

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