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USA Today: Microsoft leans on political levers

May 30, 2000, 20:49 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Owen Ullmann, Jim Drinkard)

[ Thanks to George Mitchell for this link. ]

"Just as aggressively as it has developed and marketed software, Microsoft is using innovative tactics to become a powerhouse in the political arena. As a federal judge prepares to order a breakup of the company as early as this week because of antitrust violations, lobbying and political connections might be one of Microsoft's best hopes of emerging intact."

"The company has learned to seize the normal levers of Washington power - making big campaign contributions to the political parties, hiring legions of well-connected lobbyists and waging a national public relations campaign. But what has made Microsoft's political survival strategy unique is its "stealth" political campaign - a series of unusual, less visible, ways it tries to shape the opinions of politicians and the public..."

"The company has harnessed at least 15 advocacy groups and think tanks that use Microsoft donations to spread the company's message through polls, news conferences, Web sites, letters to the editor, research papers, opinion pieces and letter-writing campaigns aimed at lawmakers. Microsoft and most of the organizations won't say how much money it gives them, and the company plays down its financial ties to these organizations. Competitors say the total runs into millions of dollars a year."

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