Microsoft has hired a new Washington lobbyist--an FTC lawyer who has sharply criticized some of Google's acquisitions on antitrust grounds.
The software giant told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that it hired Randall Long, an official at the FTC's Bureau of Competition. When he joins the software giant at the end of the month, Long will head up Microsoft's regulatory affairs division in Washington.
Long was involved in FTC reviews of Google's acquisitions of both DoubleClick and AdMob. According to the Journal's unnamed sources, Long was especially outspoken about Google's AdMob acquisition, saying that the FTC should challenge the deal. His reservations were eventually set aside and the deal was approved in 2010.
Microsoft hasn't said what Long will be doing in Washington, although the WSJ reports that he will aim to get federal regulators more interested in investigating Google's activities.
Given the companies' shared history, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Over the last several years, Microsoft has been one of Google's most outspoken critics, lodging complaints against the company over search rankings in Europe, mobile patents in the U.S., and much more.
Last month, Microsoft complained that Motorola Mobility hasn't been licensing industry-standard patents related to video technology H.264 on fair grounds. However, the company's attention quickly turned to Google, which is currently in the process of completing its $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility acquisition.
"Google's unwillingness so far to make this commitment is very concerning," Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner wrote in a blog post last month. "That's why you can pretty well count on a chorus from across the industry: 'Google: Please don't kill video on the Web.'"
Google didn't shy away from the possibilities of Microsoft's new appointment in an e-mailed statement to CNET, saying that it hopes Long will play by the rules in his new position.
"We hope that Mr. Long will abide by the FTC's ethics rules and not lobby the FTC on Google matters or use confidential information in his new position," a company spokesman told CNET.
Update 8:47 a.m. PT to include Google's statement.