Nick Mathiason at The Observer reports a tawdry tale in the UK in Microsoft in row over lobby tactics:
Microsoft is at the centre of an embarrassing row over an attempt by a lobby firm strongly linked with the Seattle computer giant to rally opposition against rival Google’s proposed acqusition of internet marketing firm DoubleClick.
The Observer has seen an email sent by a director at leading lobby firm Burson-Marsteller to a number of top UK businesses. The email urges board members to raise the issue of Google’s dominance of search engines with politicians, regulators and the media.
The email asks companies to join a new organisation – Initiative for Competitive Online Marketplaces – which in the next few weeks will make a series of announcements on Google, internet privacy and copyright.
The email’s author is Jonathan Dinkeldein, a director of B-M. He admitted the firm was working with Microsoft on the initiative.
Ah, there is nothing like the pungent aroma of new astroturf. Actually, the surprise is not so much that Microsoft is doing this, but that Burson-Marsteller is doing it so clumsily. Hmm, I wonder what Microsoft’s lobbyists in Washington on this issue are doing to to earn their fee?