Microsoft has handed FIPRA a pan-European competition lobbying brief to be run from its Brussels office.
FIPRA - Finsbury International Political Regulatory Advisors - was set up as a joint venture between financial PR agency Finsbury and European lobbying veteran Peter-Carlo Lehrell last May (PR Week, 26 May).
It has been handed the Microsoft brief by the software giant's European public affairs head Marie-Therese Huppertz and the firm's European general counsel John Frank.
Frank refused to confirm the appointment. He said: 'This is a competition law matter and it's not appropriate that I comment.'
However, PR Week understands that Lehrell, who will head the account reporting to Frank, has been brought in to complement the work of Microsoft's retained UK public affairs consultancy, Westminster Strategy.
The case centres on Microsoft's PC operating system programming codes.
Rival Sun MicroSystems claims the codes should be open to other companies to enable them to design server software which can operate with Windows PCs. The alternative, Sun claimed, is that since Microsoft dominates the PC market, it will come to dominate the server software market which it entered late.
Microsoft's argument - which it has until November to present to Brussels' competition authorities - is that its software should be copyright protected.