Microsoft offers two major UK contracts

Microsoft is reviewing its UK PR business, held by August. One Communications and its parent company Text 100 for almost 20 years.

Microsoft is reviewing its UK PR business, held by August. One

Communications and its parent company Text 100 for almost 20 years.



The software giant, in the midst of legal problems in the US which

threaten its very existence, has invited in two sets of 12 agencies to

present credentials for a substantial portion of its UK corporate image

work and public affairs.



Shaun Orpen, director of corporate marketing for Microsoft in the UK, is

running the review and expects to establish shortlists for full pitches

within the next two months.



Relations between Microsoft and the Text 100 group are longstanding.



The group has worked on the account since Microsoft launched in the UK

19 years ago. The account moved from Text 100 to August.One after the

creation of the spin-off agency last summer. August.One, which has been

asked to pitch again for both accounts, has not yet decided whether it

will do so. The repitch covers the work of eight consultants out of a

total August.One UK staff list of 77 names.



August.One is just one of six agencies used by Orpen. The Red

Consultancy, Write Image, Isis, Mercury and Pattison Mitchell all share

aspects of the company’s estimated pounds 3 million annual PR spend.



The review does not cover work August.One handles for Microsoft in other

markets and accounts in Germany, South Africa, India, Singapore and

Australia are not understood to be in jeopardy. The UK consumer account,

shared with Red, is also thought to be safe. The corporate and public

affairs accounts in the UK are run by director Sarah Howe and public

affairs head John Fraser respectively. The agency’s UK managing director

Tariq Khwaja said: ’If we don’t pitch again it will give us a chance to

put some of our consultants on new business wins’.



The Microsoft UK press office - located at Microsoft headquarters, but

run by August.One staff - is unaffected by the review.



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