Microsoft quietly prepares to avoid spotlight under Biden

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Microsoft, which has largely evaded Washington’s evaluation of Big Tech businesses and scored a lucrative $10 billion government contract under the Trump administration, has emerged as a substantial backer of this Biden campaign.

The Redmond, Washington-based software company is the fourth largest contributor to Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s candidate campaign committee, according to information from OpenSecrets, a website which tracks money in politics and campaign finance records.

The company’s President Brad Smith is playing a key role behind the scenes, hosting a design for Biden last year in Medina, Washington. He is also a big dollar bundler – those who help raise more than $25,000 for the Biden campaign – and had a public role during the Democratic National Convention, like Amazon.com policy chief Jay Carney.

Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott and his wife have contributed over $50,000 supporting committees assisting Biden win, according to campaign finance documents. Along with Microsoft board member and co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, and his wife also have donated generously to the Biden campaign. Hoffman’s spouse has donated more than half a million dollars to the Biden victory fund.

Microsoft senior executives have also contributed more to the Biden campaign during the primaries than any other large tech company, according to data from the Revolving Door Project, part of Center for Economic & Policy Research (CERP).

“Microsoft has been playing politics for much longer than the other large technology companies that are widely talked about,” said Max Moran, a researcher in CERP, noting it’s been around more than many US tech businesses.

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“It knows how to play the game on both sides of the aisle,” he added.

Companies are prohibited by law from donating themselves. The contributions, based on OpenSecrets, were either made by the company’s political action committees (PACs) themselves, members of the PAC or their workers.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company has a history of engaging with administrations on issues that matter to its small business. “Our approach has been consistent: we’ll partner where we can, we’ll stand apart where we should,” she said, adding that the donations were made by its employees, without offering additional details.

Large technology companies including Microsoft have not emerged at the top 20 contributors list for the Trump candidate campaign committee. But, Microsoft’s Smith, whose donations have largely helped Democrats, has made many donations to Republicans, including a $15,000 donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to campaign finance documents.

The Trump effort’s top contributors include government employees from the US Postal Service and the Department of Defense, followed by companies such as American Airlines Group and banks like Wells Fargo, according to OpenSecrets.

The Trump effort did not respond to a request for comment.

Biden campaign spokesman Matt Hill did not comment on the story, but he pointed to a previous announcement shared with journalists at our partner news agency Reuters, which said, “Many technology giants and their executives have not only abused their power, but misled the American people, damaged our democracy, and evaded any form of responsibility. That ends with a President Biden.”

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Microsoft has escaped escalating criticism from Washington lawmakers and probes by regulatory agencies – that has escalated into one of the largest antitrust lawsuits against Google from the Justice Department.

In fact, the lawsuit has delivered a potential prospect for Microsoft to increase usage of its Bing search engine a win years after it abandoned a lengthy campaign for legal aid.

The organization’s other big competitors, such as Facebook, Apple and also Amazon.com, will also be grappling with various national and state investigations.

Earlier this year, Microsoft also won an incredibly controversial $10 billion cloud computing contract from the US Department of Defense after it defeated Amazon at a contest marred by allegations of political influence by President Donald J Trump.

Microsoft has introduced itself as an “adult in the room” to both parties on the subject of antitrust, a plan that will continue to guarantee focus is redirected to its competitors, CERP’s Moran stated.

Smith and Microsoft, by way of instance, have spent time and resources in staying in the good graces of Democratic lawmakers.

Earlier this season, Smith met with the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, which generated a scathing report on how Big Tech hurts competitors. During the meeting, Smith offered Microsoft’s view for a business that has faced antitrust regulation in the past and also discussed his firm’s concerns about the way Apple functions its App Store, according to a source familiar with the issue.

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Lawyers and antitrust experts said there are a few challenges Microsoft still faces, though they are not very likely to lead to any purposeful action in the future under a Biden administration. By way of instance, in February that the Federal Trade Commission said it will examine prior acquisitions from Big Tech companies such as Microsoft. The business also faces an antitrust complaint in Europe in Slack, which operates a product similar to Microsoft Teams.

“Microsoft has succeeded in making sure the attention stays on everybody else even when they continue to be dominant in many areas they operate.”

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘Microsoft quietly prepares to avoid spotlight under Biden‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington. Editing by Chris Sanders and Edward Tobin.

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