Microsoft reviews Asia-Pacific PR business

Microsoft is reviewing its regional PR business in Asia-Pacific in a bid to consolidate the activity, currently split among three firms, with one agency-of-record.

Microsoft's Windows 7
Microsoft's Windows 7

The review, Microsoft regional corporate comms director Stephen Forshaw told PRWeek Global, does not include Microsoft's local PR accounts. A source involved in the pitch estimated the size of the combined regional accounts at a 'healthy six-figures'.

The tech giant's regional PR business is currently split among its three global roster firms. Edelman handles commercial/tech and corporate, Weber Shandwick oversees consumer, and Waggener Edstrom is tasked with analyst relations.

Those three agencies are all taking part in the review, alongside an additional two contenders. Forshaw confirmed that Ogilvy PR is pitching, while it is understood that Hill & Knowlton completes the lineup.

The pitch follows Forshaw's arrival at Microsoft last year, after five years as Singapore Airlines global public affairs chief.

'When I joined mid-last year, I told the three agencies that support my team that I would be reviewing our role as a regional team and moving us to provide a higher degree of strategic support to our country businesses in Asia Pacific,' he said.

'Along the way, my team has come to the view that we would be better supported by a single agency structure than the existing set-up that arose from combining a number of different PR support functions into the regional team over the past couple of years.'

Forshaw added that the five agencies had submitted proposals. 'Evaluation and pitching' will now take place, with an agency expected to be selected for contract negotiations by May.

Microsoft has reviewed various global and regional PR accounts during the past two years, typically briefing its three roster firms. Last year it handed its $4m mobile comms business to Wag-Ed, while it has also shifted EMEA accounts for consumer and analyst relations.


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