MICROSOFT KNOWS that nothing makes friends like money.
The Redmond-based software giant has spent some $855,220 on California state politics since 1999, according to a recent Los Angeles Times story by Dan Morain. This figure includes lobbying costs, political donations, and tabs for dinners and lunches. For example, Microsoft paid a $6,606 dinner bill for seven lawmakers at a downtown L.A. steak house (they serve pretty big steaks down in California). Bill Gates' company also wisely switched its lobbying contracts to a firm founded by Darius Anderson, the former chief campaign fund-raiser for California Gov. Gray Davis.
It doesn't pay to get on Microsoft's bad side, though, as California Attorney General Bill Lockyer discovered. The company backed his election opponent, perhaps because the guy had pledged to pull California from the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit.
Don't feel too bad for Lockyer, though. He not only won re-election, but Microsoft rival, Oracle Corp., donated $50,000 to the cause.