Microsoft's Ballmer meets with VP Cheney

The Microsoft CEO pays a "courtesy call" to the U.S. vice president to discuss a range of issues--but not the imminent Court of Appeals ruling on the antitrust case.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Tuesday paid a "courtesy call" to Vice President Dick Cheney to discuss a range of issues but did not bring up the imminent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the government's landmark antitrust case against the software maker.

Ballmer is visiting Washington, D.C., for two days of meetings with members of Congress and major customers, said Microsoft spokeswoman Ginny Terzano. On Wednesday morning Ballmer will be addressing a work force summit hosted by the Department of Labor, speaking primarily about Microsoft's efforts to prepare workers for the high-tech work environment.

But with the Court of Appeals ruling likely to come any day, the timing of the visit with the vice president is a striking coincidence. It was the preceding Democratic administration that dragged the software giant to court in an antitrust case.

"There was no mention of the case. It was not on the agenda, and it did not come up," Terzano said. Ballmer and Cheney spoke about worker education, trade, privacy and tax policy, she said.

"It was strictly a courtesy call and an opportunity for them to talk about issues that are important to both Microsoft and the administration," Terzano said.

During last year's election campaign, Microsoft contributed thousands of dollars to both the Democratic and Republican sides. The Redmond, Wash., company also has spent heavily on lobbyists in Washington, D.C.