Microsoft paid for newspaper adverts that claimed the US government’s case against it was hurting consumers, a New York Times report alleges.

The ads purported to represent the interests of 240 independent academic experts.

According to an article in the New York Times, Microsoft spokesman, Greg Shaw acknowledged that the company had paid for the ads. The Times also cited internal documents of the Independent Institute of Oakland, California, showing that Microsoft paid a $153,868 bill covering the cost of newspaper ads and air fare to Washington for the foundation's president, David Theroux, for a press conference on the day the ads ran.

The ads appeared in the Washington Post and the New York Times on June 2, the day the trial resumed for a final month of testimonies. Final arguments ran yesterday before US district judge Thomas Penfield Jackson (See Daily News, "Microsoft trial closes out", September 22)

The Times claims the source of the documents to be a business competitor who refuses to be identified. Confronted with the bill, Theroux claimed that, despite Microsoft paying the fare, the company exerted no influence on the group's work. Simon Hakim however, an economist and part of the group said when told of the financing: "I would not have participated had I known."