- McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Anderson & Lembke are understood to be jointly pitching for Microsoft's global advertising account worth an estimated $230 million (£140 million).
The business is currently held by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Oregon, but the software giant is understood to be unhappy with the agency and recently stripped the shop of its estimated $50 million Windows software account.
Microsoft is said to be unhappy with Wieden's image work, which is failing to hit the business market and effectively portray the company to senior business executives. The company is also believed to be considering dumping the "Where do you want to go today?" tagline, which has been in use for the past four years for similar reasons.
It has yet to find a home for the Windows account but roster shop Anderson & Lembke is likely to be invited to pitch. The agency already handles around $100 million of Microsoft business.
If the two are successful they will likely merge their San Francisco offices to give Microsoft access to McCann's global network.
Unlike rivals Compaq and IBM, Microsoft has never had a global network. In Europe, it recently appointed Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper to co-ordinate its advertising across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Microsoft has historically used separate agencies across Europe for its product advertising, while all brand advertising has been done through Wieden & Kennedy. But the company has not done any brand advertising outside the US since last year, when it began fighting a federal government law suit over alleged anti-competitive practices.
It is understood that the pitch for the Microsoft business is being led by John Dooner, chairman and chief executive officer of McCann-Erickson Worldwide out of McCanns New York and San Francisco offices.