Microsoft Hires Key Anti-Google FTC Lawyer To Be Its New Chief Anti-Google Lobbyist

from the paying-a-little-too-much-attention-to-the-competition dept

There's something a little... disturbing about how gleefully Microsoft seems to want to sic antitrust regulators on Google. Given that the company went through its own long antitrust battle, you'd think that it would know better than to continually invoke the government's antitrust legal beagles against others. Instead, it seems to have taken the position that if it had to go through the antitrust rollers for so long, why shouldn't other successful companies. We've noted in the past Microsoft's fingerprints showing up on bizarre and silly antitrust claims against Google -- which have so far gone nowhere -- but Microsoft seems really intent on saddling Google with a long and costly antitrust battle. I guess Microsoft thinks it's easier to fight Google that way than, you know, actually innovating and competing in the marketplace. It's pretty sad just how anti-innovation these efforts are.

Either way, Microsoft appears to be stepping up its "saddle Google with antitrust charges" battle by hiring Randall Long from the FTC. Long was the key "anti-Google" lawyer within the FTC, who led multiple antitrust investigations into Google, and recommended that the FTC block Google's acquisition of AdMob (something he was outvoted on). Microsoft doesn't even seem to want to hide the fact that his role will be to lobby politicians in DC to hit Google with antitrust charges. The WSJ's report on the hiring is pretty explicit:
As part of his new job, Mr. Long will likely continue those efforts before the FTC and other agencies, a person familiar with the matter said.
Of course, if Long actually follows the rules, he shouldn't be allowed to do anything concerning any FTC investigations into Google for quite some time. The ethics rules are pretty clear -- even barring "behind-the-scenes" help on such investigations:
Except as provided in this section, or otherwise specifically authorized by the Commission, no former member or employee (“former employee” or “employee”) of the Commission may communicate to or appear before the Commission, as attorney or counsel, or otherwise assist or advise behind-the-scenes, regarding a formal or informal proceeding or investigation...
That certainly suggests that Long cannot and should not "continue those efforts before the FTC" for some time. Either way, it's yet another example of the questionable revolving door between government and the private sector, where ex-government officials end up in roles that have a very close connection to their former government role (or vice versa). Even assuming that Long follows all the rules, as I'm sure he intends to do, this kind of thing just looks really bad.

Filed Under: antitrust, ethics, ftc, lobbyists, randall long
Companies: google, microsoft

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2012 @ 6:19am

    I remember that antitrust stuff. But Microsoft actually broke the law and ripped off a bunch of technology. Compression, tons of algorithms. They made promises to developers they broke "Pay us 3,000.00 a year for our development package and we will never compete on the software market." BULL and double BULL, ask Word Perfect (who?) and the other software houses they brought down with Microsoft Office! Also they have buggy products and as far as I'm concerned Internet Explorer is an extremely inferior product constantly running out of memory and it just crashes with any more than 5 tab open. What a developer nightmare to have to write 8 lines of code to account for Internet Exploder and only 1 line of code to account for the other browsers. What a joke! Microsoft products have turned into nothing but nagware that you have to pay for. I spent a whole day just turning off stuff because the idiots that designed it think everybody's stupid like all of their friends. They put 20,000 nags into their product. Someone in their design department should get a copy of RedHat or CentOS 6 which does everything Windows, Windows Server do combined. Plus they are free with all the free software ever produced. Crazy. We only have 2 machines left with Windows on them and pretty soon that will be and remain only 1.

    As to Google they have never asked me for a dime. They Give me Code, free OS's (Android), free Microsoft work arounds and a cool website. They give me an HTML 5 and CSS3 browser that is completely compliant for free. This is a beautiful thing. They are even developing new apps and programming interfaces for the web. FREE! How can you fault these guys. Sure they are a big and bad corporation and their support sucks (non-existent) but they do the web community a great service. jQuery wouldn't even exist under a Microsoft world. It became possible because of Google and the great help they give coders by hosting and making available the Google Code site. When was the last time Microsoft gave anything away?

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