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MS/SAG plan for
The following is a document we received via a Microsoft whistle blower.
It reports a plan involving Microsoft and the Strategic Alliances Group
(SAG) to prevent consumer groups and state attorney generals from
supporting calls for antitrust action against Microsoft, and to create
new voices in support of Microsoft. We hope to get the SAG/Microsoft
memos which are described below, and post them on a web site. I
thought it was an interesting memo, in that it shows how companies use
firms like SAG to deal with consumer and public interest organizations.
(The list of targeted consumer leaders given below includes key
officials from groups such as Consumers Union, Public Citizen, Consumer
Federation of America, PIRG, AARP, the National Consumers League, and
other groups). This is what we received, with typos and spelling errors
Microsoft by the Strategic Alliances Group (SAG).
Milt Benjamin, Camille Haney and Peter Lincoln were involved in the
memorandum, but I cannot be positive as to exactly whose names were on
the memorandum. It was addressed to Mich (not a typo) Mathews and Greg
Shaw, who work inside Microsoft. In addition, Jon Coake may have been
mentioned in the memo as an author. Coake now works for the Strategic
Alliance Group, but is a former employee of Microsoft who managed work
involving the small business community.
There were in fact two memos from SAG to Microsoft. The first memo was
probably dated the 21st and delivered on the 22nd of October. The
second memo was delivered on Friday, October 24th. The first one was a
brief 2.5 page memo outlining the concept of the strategy. The second
was seven pages and was more specific. Each memorandum had an
attachment listing "targets" in the consumer and small business
There were to sets of goals outlined for the work:
Goal # 1: "Freeze" the adversarial situation Microsoft still faces.
Do not permit any further deterioration.
Goal # 2: Create new voices supportive of Microsoft.
Success of the work would be defined as follows:
1. No rush of consumer leaders to follow the lead of Nader in bashing
2. No State Attorney General’s following the lead of the one-half doze
or so who have already announced inquiries.
3. No new front opening in the weeks ahead.
Consumer Group Strategy:
The goal is to stop consumer leaders form following Nader. On the
consumer front talk and visit with as many possible consumers at the CFA
conference being held today and tomorrow. They will ask consumer
leaders them to think twice and listen carefully before jumping in on
the Nader side. The targets are these:
- Steve Brobeck
- Joan Claybrook
- Mary Gardiner Jones
- Henry Geller
- Linda Golodner
- Gene Karpinski
- Gene Kimmelman/Mark Silbergeld
- Virginia Knauer
- Ken McEldowney
- Barbara O’connor
- Laura Poloucheck (spelling is wrong -- AARP Public Policy Center)
In addition, the plan proposes that Microsoft sponsor a consumer and
technology dialogue program throughout the United States. It would be a
year long program, designed to reach out to a minimum of 100 consumer
activists. The goal would be establish on-going relationships with 50
or more, even those who might not be able to support us, but who would
not speak out against us.
Governor and State Attorney General Strategy
The memorandum also mentioned or outlined a strategy to work with the
Governors and State AG’s. Camille Haney lives in Madison and works
closely with Tommy Thompson.
The memo included the following language: "Over the years we have
worked with a number of governors and attorney generals." They mention
National Governors Association and the National Association of Attorney
Generals It goes on: "We have a strong association with Tommy
Thompson; having helped him win passage" of telecommunication
deregulation in Wisconsin "We could readily enlist Thompson and
others in a pro-Microsoft" effort.
The small business strategy involved leveraging work done by SAG the
past year for Microsoft and involved Jon Coake, who now works for SAG
but had worked for Microsoft to do this small business work. A small
business technology partnership board was established with leaders from
NFIB, National Small Business United (NSBU), American Institute of CPAs,
US Hispanic Chamber, Jack Renee as President of the Research Institute
of Small and Emerging Businesses, Jon Robinson, National Minority
Business Council, a representative from the ABA Law Practice Management
group/council(?) (perhaps Rosemary Shields), Benny Sayer, President
and CEO of National Association for the Self Employed (he is African
American); and the director of the small business center of the US
Chamber, Betty Jo Tecolie
To get a complete list of the small business members look into
Newsweek in late February or early March. There was a special insert
sponsored by Microsoft and featured a picture and listing of the
committee members. Microsoft had representatives on the board as well,
"Balmer, Jedalah and Robbie Bach."
Microsoft just disbanded the group. The proposal says that they should
quickly "revive" the partnership board and leverage the relationships.
Get the small business leaders to speak out in support of Microsoft.
The proposal from SAG argued that Microsoft could save the relationship
with the board members. The Small Business United Group is a having a
meeting beginning November 2nd and running through November 7th. (rough
dates) Governor Thompson is the key note speaker on November 7th. If
"we tackle immediately we can get letters from Small Business United.
The memo argued that they should get Gates to attend. Thompson is the
key note speaker at the event. We can motivate Thompson to say
something about how great Microsoft is. "anything is possible."
They also propose having several small business people attend the Nader
conference and say useful things
My source say that there is a weakness of the small business members.
A "wedge." They are very afraid of being accused of being "tools" of
Microsoft. They are very sensitive to maintaining their
"independence." They just flip out of they are accused of being
"flacks" of Microsoft.
General Strategy Statements
The memo contained recommended strategies that are fairly typical of
the type of work that public affairs firms do.
Build "new voices to be injected into the public debate." Create the
impression that important 3rd party groups, consumer and small business
leaders strongly support Microsoft. Get them to write supportive op-ed,
opinion leader letters to colleagues and media. Create willingness of
opinion leaders to talk to the media participate on talk show.
"Use two venues near term; immediate goal was to try and blunt the
effect of the Nader conference. Freeze people from jumping on the Nader
bandwagon. Persuade people to express sentiments sympathetic to
National Small Business United thing with some efforts to corral small
business users on the 7th of November. Governor Thompson is going to
be speaking; several big wigs; heavy duty lobbying . Jon Coake (former
Microsoft employee) will be there trying to work that room.
End of memo about SAG/MS
James Packard Love
Consumer Project on Technology
P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
202.387.8030 | fax 202.234.5176
firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.cptech.org