Microsoft Lobbyists Reportedly Plot Strategy In 'Screw Google' Meetings In D.C.


While it comes as no surprise that Microsoft is developing strategy to fight Google on the public-relations and government policy fronts, the reported meetings would be an indication of just how much Microsoft is worried about Google as a competitor.

Daily Finance, an AOL money and finance site, reported Friday that Microsoft's chief Washington lobbyist and other outside consultants, including D.C.-based public-relations firms the software giant employs, have been convening regular, almost weekly meetings known as "screw Google" meetings to develop strategy for battling the Internet search company.

The meetings, according to several unidentified sources quoted in the story, develop "Google-bashing" strategies to hinder the company in the regulatory and legal arenas or make the company look bad in the public eye. The story said the meetings are led by Fred Humphries, Microsoft's chief lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and employees of the Law Media Group public-relations firm.

Ginny Terzano, Microsoft's Washington, D.C., spokesperson, was quoted in the story as calling the alleged "screw Google" meetings "absurd," although she acknowledged that Google has come up in Microsoft meetings between Microsoft executives and consultants, and lawmakers and regulators.

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Microsoft has a bitter rivalry with Google, competing head-to-head in such areas as online search and personal productivity applications. At the vendor's Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans last month, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner identified Google as a target for its competitive efforts and said Microsoft channel partners should compete with Google Apps by showing customers documentation of the company's outages and security problems.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is working to get the U.S. Justice Department to approve its proposed deal with Yahoo to join forces in search.