Microsoft critic defends US$10m payment

The president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association defends the group's settlement with Microsoft, saying it has not "reversed its position".

Ed Black, president of the CCIA, has defended his organization's decision to take a settlement payment from Microsoft.

The Washington DC-based CCIA (Computer and Communications Industry Association) this month put to bed an antitrust suit with Microsoft, in which the Redmond giant agreed to pay the CCIA almost US$20 million in return for the association dropping its complaint.

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported it had seen documents showing that around half of the payment, US$9.75 million, would be given to Black personally.

When contacted by yesterday, Black would not be drawn on the financial terms of the settlement and only agreed to speak largely off the record.

He did, however, confirm that the settlement and subsequent news did not signal a change in the CCIA's position on the software giant.

Describing the settlement as a "narrow and tactical withdrawal" from the litigation, Black said: "The CCIA has not reversed its position. To continue pursuing extensive litigation with Microsoft was not practical."

"We're not retracting...anything we said," he added. The CCIA and Black himself were previously active in the EU's antitrust suit against Redmond and submitted hundreds of pages of documents to the EU's Competition Commission, to be used as evidence to prove Microsoft was indulging in anticompetitive business practices.

Although the CCIA has officially withdrawn its complaints, Microsoft didn't ask for the evidence the association has already submitted to the EC to be withdrawn.

In a closed door meeting today convened by a European judge to discuss how best to handle the evidence submitted against Microsoft by parties that have since withdrawn from the antitrust fight--Novell and the CCIA--it was decided the material should still stand.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said: "All the parties in the meeting agreed, as Microsoft has always maintained, that the CCIA and Novell’s past testimony should remain on the record."