Former Sac Councilmember Attacks Microsoft CEO on Kings Purchase

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has implied Microsoft's California business contracts could be in jeopardy if the NBA deal goes through.


News of the pending sale of the Sacramento Kings to Chris Hansen's Seattle investment group hasn't been an easy pill for some California politicians to swallow. That includes former Sacramento City Councilmember Darrel Steinberg. 

In a letter sent Tuesday to California Department of General Services director Fred Klass, Steinberg -- now California Senate President Pro Tem -- calls out Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for his role in Hansen's group and asks for more information on the Redmond-based company's contracts within California.

"I cannot stand idly by while a prominent out-of-state company that has significantly profited from business with the State of California actively attempts to acquire and remove one of my State and my region's leading private assets," wrote Steinberg. Here's some of the letter: 

I would appreciate your help—as the director of the department in charge of most state procurement—in obtaining some information that in light of these reports is certainly relevant to California taxpayers, particularly those in the Sacramento region.

- How many technology contracts and at what total cost to state taxpayers does Microsoft Corporation currently have with the State of California?

-In total dollars, how much has the State of California paid Microsoft Corporation for its products and services over the last 10 years?

- Can you send my office terms of contracts and representations made by Microsoft Corporation regarding their contracts with the State?

-To your knowledge, does any other state in the United States pay more annually to Microsoft Corporation for products and services than the State of California?

- What is Microsoft Corporation's record of performance with the State of California?

As a state legislator, I am well aware that I have no direct role in the day-to-day management of the State's technology procurement processes, but I cannot stand idly by while a prominent out-of-state company that has significantly profited from business with the State of California actively attempts to acquire and remove one of my State and my region's leading private assets. 

(Click here to read the entire letter on USA Today.)

Steinberg, a former Sacramento City Council member, isn't the only politician trying to keep the Kings in California. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is forming a local ownership team to present a counter-offer for the Kings when the NBA reviews the sale this spring.

Do you think Steinberg is out of line to target Ballmer and Microsoft? Or is it fair game? Tell us in the comments section.

Joe Matlen January 23, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Steinberg is in a leadership role in California government and is acting like a complete idiot - what an embarrassment to this state. How can he be so out of touch with reality?
David Wol January 23, 2013 at 06:08 PM
A little hardball with Microsoft is not out of line. It is a strategy that Microsoft has often used with its competitors over time. In addition, the quality of Microsoft products has declined, Windows 8 being the latest evidence of that decline. It would be a smart strategy for the state of California to not be dependent on a single vendor for critical information technology.
Pat Davis January 23, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Steincrook-pull your foot out of your mouth. The Kings were not born and raised in Sacramento, they come from another state.
Michael R Webb January 24, 2013 at 01:25 AM
What a jerk. It is not microsoft putting up the money it is Ballmer! Why did he let the Maloofs screw the city so bad with idiot mentality. Those guys are living off the fathers genius and they did nothing but obliterate his reputation. Let them go. They have the lowest value of any of the NBA teams.Good by to Cousin's crying. He never was and never will be!!!
M.Legison January 24, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Typical far left progressive. Hates business and profit and wants government influence in all facets of our lives. What possible business of it is his who trades commodities in an open market? Threatening MSFT is funny. Like they need to be here.


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