The man behind Microsoft’s dirty tricks has left just in time for Clinton 2016

The man behind Microsoft’s dirty tricks has left just in time for Clinton 2016

The headline news from Redmond today is that Stephen Elop, the Microsoft man who went to Nokia and ended up selling it to the mothership, is out and its OS and hardware divisions are merging.

But there was another significant move: Mark Penn is going too.

Penn is a former Clinton advisor – he steered Bill’s 1996 re-election campaign and was at the heart of Hilary’s damp squib effort in 2008 – but during his time at Microsoft, he was the driving force behind its dirtiest tricks.

He masterminded the company’s controversial Scroogled campaign, a two-year assault on practically every Google product you can imagine. It included multiple ads and even ‘Keep Calm While Google Steals Your Data’ apparel.

Penn’s efforts to bring political-style attack ads to the world of tech were largely unsuccessful and widely derided. He was also a highly-divisive figure during Clinton’s previous primary campaign.

That said, while his next move is setting up a private equity firm with cash from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, his September departure date will make him available just as the run up to 2016 starts to really ramp up.

There’ll be plenty of staffers in the Clinton 2016 campaign hoping he stays well away.

Read nextNokia’s ex-CEO, Stephen Elop, is leaving Microsoft

Image credit: WEF/Huffington Post

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