Is anyone surprised Microsoft is lobbying to thwart Google?

Is anyone surprised Microsoft is lobbying to thwart Google?

Summary: The thing that most surprised me about the recent news coverage regarding Microsoft lobbying to thwart Google's DoubleClick acquisition is that anyone is surprised.

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Is anyone surprised Microsoft is lobbying to thwart Google?The thing that most surprised me about the news coverage regarding Microsoft lobbying to thwart Google's DoubleClick acquisition is that anyone is surprised.

The UK Guardian got its hands on an e-mail that PR agency Burson-Marsteller has sent out to various UK businesses. According to the Guardian, B-M, on behalf of Microsoft, is seeking support for a new organization -- the "Initiative for Competitive Online Marketplaces" -- which is gearing up to make a bunch of pronouncements regarding Google, Internet privacy and copyright.

The timing of the anti-Google campaign is seemingly designed to coincide with the U.S. Congress', U.S. Federal Trade Commission's and the European Commission's pending investigations of Google's $3.1 billion takeover of DoubleClick. Both Microsoft and the No. 2 search vendor, Yahoo, have objected to the deal that would merge the two biggest online advertisers. (In an ironic twist, Microsoft also bid on DoubleClick, but lost, and subsequently acquired advertising bigwig aQuantive for $6 billion.)

I guess folks have forgotton that:

Lobbying isn't illegal. It's the trying to pretend you aren't lobbying when you are that is shoddy.

 (Surprise? Horror? image by karynsig, CC2.0)

Topics: Telcos, Banking, Browser, Google, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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39 comments
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  • Some day Someone will have to force MS to behave

    Sadly EC AND EU made a small scratch on MS but soon we should have a real hit across the head off MS with real penalty something that MS will remember for ages.

    Yes Lobbing is not illegal but its very unethical. And soon i hope that business will have to live with there unethical choice . bad pr , penalty and the rest ......
    Quebec-french
    • Google has lobbiest. So do

      Apple, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, ect.....
      John Zern
    • It will be the market, not the Govt.

      The DOJ became toothless, representing no real reform. When has MS responded with any changes, when forced to by the market. I.E. 7 is directly a result of FF penetration. OOXML is directly due to ODF. Price pressure and massive discounts are a direct result of LAMP. $500 million to Novel is a direct result of SLED. PFS was a direct result of iTunes. Zune was a direct result of iPod.

      MS has far too much money to "sway" any political process, but what they can't do (and are rapidly losing control of) are consumers. You know, the rogue folks who don't just buy the marketing hype and find alternatives that work at least as well or better.

      As for the lobbying efforts, they are stop gap at best. They may succeed, but no company (not just MS) can rely on lobbying as a long term strategy. Compete sucessfully or fall behind.

      TripleII

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • What is unethical about lobbying?

      I mean you are free to lobby for anything you want, why shouldn't everyone have that right?
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • just try it...

        You "lobbying" in DC would be like country-bumpkin me and my wife of 26 years "lobbying" to get into "Studio 54" back in the J. Belushi era.

        Get real. What's wrong with "lobbying" at any level at or above local water board is it ain't at all fair.

        You couldn't even afford the right shoes, I assure you.

        cat
        catseverywhere@...
    • Re: Some day Someone will have to force MS to behave

      That someone can only be the consumer. In my opinion the US government(and EU and everyone else) can make MS change its tactics far more effectively by stopping the flow of money to MS coffers than with investigations and slaps on the wrist. Stop buying MS products- That's the ONLY thing that will make Redmond sit up and take notice.
      balaknair
      • you are right but again

        Since i have no faith in mankind what so ever, i Doubt that people will impose on them self the power and the drawback from making a ethical choice
        Ex forcing them self to learn a new OS or other non main stream choice
        Ex forcing them self to find alternative to any possessions they have that seem a unethical provider or supplier.People are way to lazy and stupid to impose there will on corporation

        They would rather watch tv and live in there white tower in fear of there neighbors ( Noam Chomsky )

        So Until mankind is tired of been rip open by corporation and choose to put them down like the sick dog they are only government as the power with law and legislation to impose people's better interest's.

        But at this moment since money processes most of world government with political investment in are stuck in a downward spiral that seen to never stop .

        Until Mr Average get his own head out of his own @ss maybe just maybe we finally change something

        Think about it we find that Gaz price is too high
        1 month with out filling up IF you able public transportation or alternative

        you hate MS way Flush everything MS at home send it back to MS in a box and move to alternative Or stop using cell phone for a month

        you hate apple with there i phone shit sent it back and get rid of apple.

        A few month like that and check the revolution big time .but once again im only a sick f..k socialism french canadian piece of high flying crap :)

        Some day its gonna put it or shut it period
        Quebec-french
  • MJF since when...

    was Microsoft's efforts at lobbying secret? You imply that Microsoft is hiding this fact.

    Are you just trying to stir up the MS Haters today? You sure got Mr Quebec's knickers all knotted up now didn't you? :)
    BFD
    • i dont hate MS

      I just find that MS is a unethical monopoly and should be dealt hardly and sharply by Law In a way that other will think twice before trying to copy for the next 100 years this would be seen as THE example not too follow .OR you should face dire consequence
      Quebec-french
      • I feel the same about Jay Walkers

        By gawd if you gave one the death penalty you would

        "dealt hardly and sharply by Law In a way that other will think twice before trying to copy for the next 100 years this would be seen as THE example not too follow ."

        Yup, would cetainly do that. What a brilliant plan you have.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Confusing

          What a confusing post NoAxe. Why don't you use normal English? You know, grammar, punctuation etc.?
          nizuse
          • Yes, I know its over your head.

            But not to worry, those with a 3rd grade education understood it.

            Run along little one before I spank you in public.
            No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Root Of the Problem?

    These kind of problems extend well beyond Microsoft, our society is rampant with them. Where is the root cause? I don't know, but could it be with "Wall Street" and their incessant pressure to grow grow grow grow, so every employee of every corporation is constantly being pressured to join that band wagon and looking for ways to grow grow grow?

    Bill Gates used to say Microsoft was a software company but Wall Street probably wasn't happy with that. Maybe current Microsoft management doesn't subscribe to that philosophy because Microsoft seems to be bowing to the wishes of Wall Street - you must grow grow grow grow.

    Is Wall Street an illustraton of "the love of money" or what?
    lmenningen
    • Investor influence is Anti American

      The USA today has an article this morning (Sept 24 2007) listing the transnational big businesses that are withdrawing from the US stock exchanges because of Sarb Ox and other rules of transparency.

      If you follow the news closely, you know that transparency was the cause of the Rock bank run in England and you know that Barclay's Bank likely placed Patty Dunn at HP to do things like identity theft (pretesting) and other cover things not considered the American Way.

      There are all kinds of arguments for covert action involving the world economies and they mostly involve keeping the monied elite informed and everyone else in the dark. These arguments are as Anti-American as the institutions of slavery and it twin most often-related evil of polygamy.

      Yet when you read the WSJ and USA today even, you are reminded just how the polygamists (Saudi monarchs) work against Western notions of humanity.

      The working theory we look to disprove is that Microsoft management has been overly influenced to seek abnormal and illegal profits, pay no US taxes, hire non US citizens, and figure out ways of extracting wealth from the US economy.

      Microsoft is not an American business. It is a transnational big business that at one time was the largest capitalized business in the world and the focus of WTO police riots in Seattle. To think that the company would champion US business aniti-mobster anti-slavery laws given the investor pool was probably naive. Yet I think the Reno/Clinton administration and Judge Jackson had a handle on it all.

      The USA is in a war time economy. The war on terror is really a war on transnational big business and we are winning. As that becomes apparent, we will have followers helping. Web 2.0 in concert with WiMax is an iceberg 2.0 in economic terms.
      mighetto
      • re: Investor influence is Anti American

        Have you been schmoozing with Vily Clay lately?
        M.R. Kennedy
  • What is the purpose of this blog?

    The blogger starts out with "how could anyone be surprised that Microsoft is lobbying against Google" without any context for such a statement and then goes on to show how they are to give as much of a negative impression as possible. I don't get it. <br>
    Did the blogger forget the various charges Google has brought up to the courts against Microsoft? Has the blogger forgotten all of the moves and alliances Google has formed to undercut Microsoft, but not solely in the name of Google? <br>
    Does the blogger pretend for one second that Microsoft is the only one that uses lobbyists and therefore, we can puncuate at teh bottom of the blog that Microsoft is "shoddy" in it's practices. I would say this blogger is desperate for "street creds" and to distance themselves from any objective opinions regarding Microsoft. <br>
    Well, what's new, same old story, different day. Let's conveinently leave out everyone else and have another let's pretend Microsoft is the evil company, all others acting in the best interests of the world at large with benevolence and inspiring stories of giving and caring.
    xuniL_z
    • Up front lobbying isn't as much an issue

      as clandestine support groups posing as "neutral" but backed by, or fully supportive and lobbying for, Microsoft is certainly a problem.

      (MJ's link...
      http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=108)

      IIRC, groups like the Americans for Technology Leadership came forward to support MS during the anti-trust trials, seemingly as independent observers only looking to "protect the right to innovate" but it was discovered it had much deeper tie-ins to MS than it let on.

      Lobbying... questionable but legal and accepted.

      Astroturfing and hidden lobbying campaigns... sneaky and unethical.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

      note "Recent examples" and the MS-supported front group, Americans for Technology Leadership, of which Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) is also a member... what a coincidence.

      ...
      MacCanuck
      • Well....

        if i didn't konw that Apple has astroturfed Microsoft products and I didn't know that Google astroturfs, it could be a moral dilema I suppose.
        <br>
        As it stands, it's just become another part of the "war" between big businesses.
        xuniL_z
        • You're quick at making baseless accusations

          but could you please point out or link to specific examples of "astroturfing" by others, as you suggest.

          >>> that Apple has astroturfed Microsoft products >>>

          ??? Example(s) please, not delusions, paranoid ramblings or anti-Apple suspicions.

          I imagine many companies and groups (big & small) do some sort of astroturfing, but it's disingenuous and specious to throw out accusations with no proof to back it up, unlike with MS, which has been caught numerous times with it's hand in the unethical cookie jar.

          Proof and suspicions are 2 different things.

          ...
          MacCanuck
          • all over the internet.

            check for yourself how much Apple has done this against Zune and Vista. then they have a more subtle approach where they post lies directly on their websites and Astroturf in their commmercials, pretending to be comparing the Mac to a PC and next thing you know "allow" "yes" click "allow" yes click etc etc. <br>
            I wouldn't be surprised if you are a paid astroturfer. ;)
            xuniL_z