Brier Dudley’s column this morning on Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in Europe neatly ties up several big issues from the company’s ongoing attempt to escape the antitrust shadow to the global financial crisis. Dudley writes:
“Ballmer went to Europe last week for many reasons, mostly to drum up business, apparently.
“But consider the backdrop and the tone of his announcements.
“Like the U.S., Europe is hurting, and Ballmer came across as the Henry Paulson of the tech industry, promising big investments bringing stability, growth and jobs.”
Adding further context to Ballmer’s trip, the banking crisis in Europe worsened last night. The New York Times reported that Germany has moved to guarantee private savings accounts and two major European financial firms have landed government bailouts.
Like other major corporations, Microsoft wants to see the financial situation stabilized as soon as possible. To that end, it urged the members of Washington State’s congressional delegation who voted against the $700 billion U.S. bailout plan last week to get behind the bill. After its passage, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, issued this statement:
“This crisis affects more than just the U.S. financial sector, it affects every corner of the world economy, and today’s vote will help re-instill confidence around the globe. Microsoft is pleased to see members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate come together to pass this important legislation. I particularly appreciate the support of the Members of the Washington State delegation who cast their vote today to help preserve jobs in all sectors of the economy of Washington state and across the U.S.”
That’s looking like more than just rhetoric. Brier Dudley spotted signs last week that hiring at Microsoft could be slowing.