Concerned by its overly negative portrayal in the local media, Microsoft Hong Kong has launched a campaign to improve its image. General manager Mark Phibbs said he was taken aback by the coverage Microsoft received in Hong Kong, saying it was more negative than in any other market. 'I don't think we get our fair share of good press,' Mr Phibbs said. He said the company needed to do a better job of getting information out to reporters. He cited examples of negative press, where he said Microsoft rivals were given a platform to criticise the software company in what amounted to 'advertising'. To get its message out, Microsoft used its local public relations firm to offer interviews with people who were ready to complain about Microsoft's competitors. Mr Phibbs said clients had told him they were frustrated by the treatment the company received in the press and were willing to speak out on Microsoft's behalf. Patrick Lee, a senior project manager with BSME Holborn Computer Resources in Hong Kong, said he agreed to be interviewed at Microsoft's request after having a bad experience using Red Hat Linux as a development tool. He said Linux was too complicated for his junior staff, so he switched back to Microsoft. 'From [Microsoft's] point of view, you can see why they want to [tell people about] these kinds of things,' Mr Lee said. Mr Phibbs defended the decision to spread negative news about Linux, saying Microsoft had to ensure consumers were acquainted with the shortcomings of competing software. 'When we have a competitor, even one that lacks credibility such as Linux, we take it seriously,' he said. At least part of Microsoft's perceived image problem in Hong Kong may be due to the ongoing antitrust trial in the United States and the amount of negative press it generated on an almost daily basis. Microsoft rivals such as Sun Microsystems, AOL Time Warner and RealNetworks all testified against the company. At the same time, frequently quoted high-profile chief executives Larry Ellison of Oracle and Scott McNealy of Sun seem to have a hard time passing a microphone without tossing verbal barbs at Microsoft. At a recent conference, for example, Mr McNealy left little hyperbole aside and said of Microsoft: 'In the battle between mankind and the monopolists, mankind will win.'