Tobias Buck at the Financial Times:
Microsoft has launched a covert lobbying campaign to persuade the US administration and US businesses to intervene in its long-running antitrust battle with the European Union.
Microsoft officials have met White House and Department of Justice staff and asked them to back the legal challenge launched by the group against last year’s landmark antitrust ruling by the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.
Microsoft has also sent a memo to several US companies, including at least one pharmaceuticals group, asking them to lobby the US government in its support.
A spokesman for Microsoft said: “In recent years, the European Commission and EU member state governments have intervened in a number of competition cases and appeals in the United States. It makes sense for the US government to offer its views in a similar way under the procedures established by European courts, where the issue has broad implications for the global economy.”
The US government and the Commission are regularly contacted by companies asking them to lobby the authorities of other countries, and Washington has repeatedly raised the Microsoft case with Brussels.
It would only be unusual if Microsoft weren’t doing it.