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Microsoft critic allegedly received $10 million

When Microsoft settled its antitrust battle with the CCIA, its top executive was paid nearly $10 million, according to reports.

When Microsoft settled its antitrust battle with the Computer & Communications Industry Association earlier this month, the CCIA's top executive--an outspoken critic of Microsoft--was paid nearly $10 million, the Financial Times has reported.

According to the documents seen by the London-based Financial Times, Ed Black, chief executive officer of the CCIA, took half of the $19.75 million payment Microsoft made to the association. The payment was approved by the board of the CCIA, the newspaper said.

Photo: McCullagh
Ed Black, the CCIA's
chief executive

A Microsoft spokeswoman told that while the company made the payment to the association, it did not have any part in saying how the money was distributed after it was paid.

"It was, of course, up to the CCIA board to decide how to use the money it received from us, and we had no involvement at all in that process," she said.

The CCIA declined to comment.

However, when Microsoft and the CCIA announced the settlement on Nov. 8, the software giant may have intended the cash for lawyers' pockets, not Black's. The spokeswoman said: "Microsoft agreed to make a payment to CCIA as an organization as reimbursement for certain legal and related expenditures that it had incurred."

As part of the settlement, the CCIA agreed to drop its antitrust suit against Microsoft, which had alleged that Windows XP was anticompetitive. It also agreed to drop out of acting for the European Commission in its antitrust case against the software maker. The Commission ruled that Microsoft should sell a version of Windows without its media player software bundled in and pay a record fine. Microsoft has paid the $600 million fine but has asked that the rest of the penalty be suspended pending its appeal.

The EU lost another of its antitrust backers on Nov. 8, when Novell withdrew its support after settling with Microsoft for $536 million.

Jo Best of reported from London.