06.05.09

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Details of Microsoft’s Lobbying in Europe

Posted in Europe, Finance at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US taking over the world

Summary: Illusion of autonomy — the Microsoft groups involved and the money at play

HIDDEN behind a Web form we have some very juicy details about Microsoft’s lobbying activities in Europe. We already have a rough idea of what it is doing in the United States and we obtained a long list of lobbyists.

In the Web form (register of lobbyists), looking under entry “0801162959-21″, we have a lot of details about Microsoft. We reproduce them here because otherwise, the information will never be presented and indexed anywhere.

Microsoft Corporation is described as “Publicly Traded Corporation, incorporated in the State of Washington, United States of America.” The category of activity is: “«in-house» lobbyists and trade associations active in lobbying.” The “Head of the organisation” (or “Person legally responsible for the organisation”) is listed as Mr Steve Ballmer, the CEO.

The contact details as as follows:

One Microsoft Way
Redmond WA 98052
UNITED STATES
Telephone number: (+1) 425 8828080
Other contact information: Microsoft
Corporate Affairs Europe, Dr. John Vassallo, Vice President European
Affairs and Associate General Counsel,
Rue du Trone 4, 5th Floor, 1000 Bruxelles
Tel: +32 2 550 06 10

Microsoft wishes to be informed about consultations in:

* Agriculture
* Audiovisual and media
* Budget
* Competition
* Consumer affairs
* Culture
* Customs
* Development
* Economic affairs
* Education
* Employment and social affairs
* Energy
* Enlargement
* Enterprise
* Environment
* Equal opportunities
* External relations
* External trade
* Foreign and security policy
* General and institutional affairs
* Humanitarian aid
* Information society
* Internal market
* Justice and home affairs
* Public health
* Regional policy
* Research and technology
* Transport

Here is information on Microsoft’s “membership of any associations/federations/confederations or relationships to other bodies in formal or informal networks” (as of 13.01.2009):

Business Software Alliance (BSA)
European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association
(EICTA)
European Software Association (ESA)
European Digital Media Association (EDIMA)
European Internet Foundation (EIF)
European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA)
American Electronic Association (AEA Europe)
American European Community Association (AECA)
Association of Competitive Technologies (ACT)
AIM – European Brands Association
American chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU)
Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC)
Business Europe
German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunication and New
Media (BITKOM)
Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)
Digital interoperability Forum (DIF)
DotEU
European-American Business Council (EABC)
The European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS)
European competitiveness Platform (ECP)
e-Skills Industry Leadership Board (ILB)
High Level Advisory Group
I-Comp
Interactive Advertising Bureau
ICC – BASCAP Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy
Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE)
SME-Union
Transatlantic Business Dialogue
Transatlantic Policy Network
Voices for Innovation
Voice on the NET Coalition Europe – VON
World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)

MS also participates in a number of and provides support to the
following Think Tanks in Brussels.

Friends of Europe
CEPS
EPC
Stockholm Network

Many familiar faces are there. It shows that ACT, for example, is officially a Microsoft-affiliated lobby. It was obvious, but the above is a more formal proof.

For the financial year of 2008, Microsoft’s “estimated costs to the organisation directly related to representing interests to EU institutions in that year” was €1,300,000.

That is of course a lower bound because a lot of lobbying activities do not get disclosed. EurActiv says that a lot of lobbyists refuse to register.

The page adds:

Other (financial) information provided by the organisation:

Our estimate of costs, which ranges between 1.250.000 and 1.300.000 €, includes both costs in connection with activities by Microsoft employees, and fees paid to third parties (consultancies and law firms), where those fees are unlikely to be reported elsewhere in the Register. Because the Commission has explicitly urged registrants to avoid potential “double counting,” we have not included fees paid to third parties whom we understand are likely to register themselves.

And lastly:

Interest representation activities

Subject of the main interest representation activities performed by the organisation:

The following is a list of the main lobbying activities performed by MS as of 13.01.2009. This list is subject to change as circumstances affecting the company evolve:

• Audiovisual and media services directive (AVMS)
• Content Online Communication, Olivennes Agreement
• Telecommunication package (+ ERG paper) – esp.: spectrum,
accessibility, privacy, security and VoIP
• Safer Internet Program (+ Draft Guidelines for Social Networking and
Financial Coalition against Child Abuse)
• Data retention
• Article 29 working party opinions and related issues (monitoring)
• Council of Europe Draft Guidelines for ISPs
• i2010, e-Inclusion
• IPR, Copyright, Counterfeiting
• Private copyright levies
• Software liability & consumer acquis, digital rights Charta
• eGovernment
• Interoperability
• Critical infrastructure protection
• Transatlantic cooperation
• Trade policy
• Education
• R&D and Innovation
• Private Litigation Whitepaper
• Art. 82 guidelines

The list above is very telling. Microsoft plays a significant role in lawmaking across Europe.

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