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Tuesday, 11 April, 2000, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Microsoft on Bush offensive
Bill Gates
Microsoft chief Bill Gates believes he has a strong case
Microsoft has hired a senior consultant to the Republican presidential campaign to lobby against the anti-trust case brought by the current administration against the software company.

The Microsoft Trial
Ralph Reed is a senior consultant to governor George W Bush's presidential campaign, and credited with building up the conservative Christian Coalition into a political force.

Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said the company had hired Mr Reed to counter "a comprehensive lobbying campaign by our competitors" to promote the anti-trust case against it.

The world's largest software maker plans to appeal against a court ruling that found it guilty of breaking US monopoly law.

The company also said it had been "working very hard to get our point of view across to all the presidential candidates," including Vice President Al Gore.

It did not say how it had lobbied Mr Gore and his staff.

Top consultant

Ralph Reed is the former head of the Christian Coalition.

His firm, Century Strategies, is one of Mr Bush's top consultants.

During the primary campaign, Mr Reed frequently appeared on television to talk on behalf of the campaign.

He declined to comment on his firm's contract with Microsoft on the grounds of client confidentiality.

It looks like Mr Reed has his work cut out for him.

Asked about the case last week, shortly after the judge's ruling, Mr Bush said that as president he would "fully enforce anti-trust laws."

Appeal planned

In a landmark ruling last week, District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found that Microsoft had broken US monopoly law by attempting to monopolise the internet browser market.

Judge Jackson plans a new round of hearings to decide on "remedies" which could include the break-up of the company.

The world's largest software producer plans to appeal against the ruling.

The company's founder Bill Gates says he is confident that appeal courts will throw out the verdict.

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See also:

04 Apr 00 | Business
Microsoft vows to fight on
03 Apr 00 | Business
Microsoft found guilty
05 Apr 00 | Business
Microsoft penalty in 60 days
14 Feb 00 | Microsoft
Lobbying efforts stepped up
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