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Little helper for MS and Bush says sorry, keeps both jobs

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MS on Trial In the latest of Microsoft's epic series of antitrust own-goals, Ralph Reed, a lobbyist who is supposed to be helping both Microsoft and Republican presidential candidate Governor Bush, has apologised to Bush for lobbying on behalf of Microsoft. He also promised not to lobby Bush on behalf of anyone else. A Bush campaign official claimed that the candidate had not known that Reed was lobbying for Microsoft, despite his having been retained since 1998. A spokesman said that only one letter had been received by the campaign that might be a result of Reed's work. Reed's outfit, Century Strategies, said that he had never personally lobbied Bush, or asked him to take a position on the Microsoft case. Mark Murray for Microsoft tried to put a gloss on a decidedly unglossy situation by saying that Microsoft would continue to work with Century Strategies and other organisations to "respond to attacks by competitors and to ensure that our viewpoint is heard". However, it seems that at the moment Microsoft's competitors are lying low, leaving it to Microsoft's friends and retainers to make the wrong message heard. ®: Related stories: MS hires spin doctor to lobby Bush

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