Microsoft quietly hired Burson-Marsteller to rally opposition to Google’s proposed acquisition of online ad networker DoubleClick—and some are rankled that the software giant’s name was kept out of the pitches. The PR firm sought to convince key players the deal would hamper Internet competition and impact privacy rights, the Journal reports.
Though Microsoft claims its opinions are widely known, the pitches it bought were unattributed; some targeted organizations were angered by the hidden role. The Journal, which was itself contacted by the firm, notes Microsoft faced similar campaigns by its rivals as it grew in the 90s. It says the company “has good reason to operate below the radar,” as a European Court just upheld a ruling that Microsoft abused its own near-monopoly.