Software Giant Plays Hardball in Newspaper Ads

By Liebeskind, Ken | Editor & Publisher, May 8, 2000 | Go to article overview

Software Giant Plays Hardball in Newspaper Ads


Liebeskind, Ken, Editor & Publisher


Microsoft Corp. fires its pitch high and tight

Calls U.S. Justice Department plan 'a major setback'

The U.S. Justice Department wants to break the Microsoft Corp. into two separate companies, and Microsoft has responded in two different ways: with newspaper and TV ads that explained its position.

The strongest response came in the form of the newspaper campaign that broke last Monday in a variety of papers. The full-page ad, appearing as a letter from company Chairman Bill Gates and President and CEO Steve Ballmer, argued that the government's actions would be a "major setback for consumers, the high-technology industry, and the American economy."

On the same day the newspaper ads appeared, a TV spot narrated by Ballmer made its debut. The spot, positioning Microsoft as an innovative company that benefits consumers, "was not directed specifically at trial-related issues," said Dean Katz, group public- relations manager at Microsoft. "It's intended to address a different level and audience on issues that are relevant to trial concepts."

The harder-hitting newspaper ad appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, The Boston Globe, and the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman. …

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