LONDON--Microsoft has selected Edelman to handle its UK B2B PR assignment, after parting ways with decade-long incumbent Bite Communications.

Edelman secures the high six-figure assignment following a review that began earlier this year, as revealed by the Holmes Report.

Numerous firms took part in the early stages of the review before a pitch last week that included at least three contenders. Bite, meanwhile, bowed out of the process before the pitch took place.

The review followed the appointment of Nicola Taylor as Microsoft UK PR head earlier this year. Taylor previously oversaw Microsoft's corporate PR activities. 

Taylor told the Holmes Report that Edelman put forward an "outstanding pitch". She also noted that the firm's existing Microsoft business - it handles corporate and Xbox in the UK - was "helpful".

"On the other hand we also looked at some agencies that don’t work with us," noted Taylor. "We saw some absolutely outstanding agencies throughout the process. It reflects the strength of the UK PR industry."

Edelman is expected to take charge of the business during the summer. Taylor said that Microsoft has a strong commercial business that is "sometimes, perhaps, a little misunderstood." In particular, she pointed to opportunities in cloud and devices. "We would like the opportunity to explain to businesses how they can take advantage of that."

"We have enjoyed working with Microsoft for the past ten years, but it was time to hand the reins to others," said Bite EMEA MD Kath Pooley. "We declined to re-pitch and believe it was the right decision for our business. We’ve got an exciting year ahead having completed our merger and added some fantastic, innovative brands to our client portfolio."

Microsoft's UK consumer PR duties are currently handled by 3 Monkeys. Weber Shandwick leads European PR, and Waggener Edstrom serves as Microsoft's key PR partner at its global HQ in the US.