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Republican prez hopeful addresses Microsoft staff

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Mitt Romney, one of the leading contenders for the US Republican Party’s presidential nomination, has revealed he once tried to hire Steve Ballmer.

Romney made a campaign stop on Thursday in Redmond to speak to Microsoft’s Political Action Committee about his plans for the government, should he make it to the White House. However, he was reminded by Steve Ballmer that he’d once tried to hire the Microsoft CEO in the 1980s when Romney was head of recruitment for Bain and Co.

“I met with Steve and he said he was considering our offer, but was thinking of going off with a couple of folks and forming a company called Microsoft,” Romney said, in video posted by GeekWire. “Had you joined us, you’d be worth a million or two by now.”

El Reg suspects that Ballmer, ever the thrusting salesperson, would have been a good fit at Bain, and might have saved Microsoft his rather lackluster tenure at the top and left the job to someone more suited for the role, such as Ray Ozzie.

Romney, who has a son working with Microsoft in Redmond, used the speech to outline his plans for dealing with China. He said that China was a currency manipulator, had violated intellectual property, and should be made to pay for that. If India and Brazil followed China’s lead, then the impact on US jobs would be severe.

He also proposed a "Reagan Zone" of countries that would get preferential trade treatment by the US, and would be selected based on how they supported and enforced intellectual property rules.

This is Romney’s second visit with the politically minded at Microsoft. He won praise on a similar trip in 2008 for using a PowerPoint deck to give his stump speech. ®

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