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MS strikes back by quitting critical trade body

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Microsoft has quit the Software and Information Industry Association, the major Washington-based body representing the industry. Last month the SIIA filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the DoJ after its board apparently voted 7-2 for filing it, with ten abstentions. It seemed that Microsoft wanted to pick a fight, as last week Microsoft COO Bob Herbold, an SIIA board member, wrote to president Ken Wasch asking why the SIIA charter as a non-profit corporation had been revoked by the District of Columbia, and expressed concern that he might be at risk. Wasch told him it was an oversight that had been corrected. Yesterday, Herbold wrote to the SIIA saying that Microsoft was resigning, and that he would leave the board because the SIIA was no longer "playing a leadership role on the issues". Wasch said he was not surprised. In a statement, the association noted that "For the previous two years, Microsoft has withdrawn from participation in the SIIA's core deliverable services... refused to be engaged on the issues they claim to be most important, instead focussing solely on the issue of competition." Wasch said that the government's accusations against Microsoft "ring true", and that "when you swim with the alligators, you have no right to complain if you get bit", adding for good measure that in quitting, Microsoft's tactics resembled that "of a schoolyard bully. Since the SIIA board of directors refused to play by Microsoft's rules, Microsoft has in effect taken its ball and gone home." The SIIA has an annual income of some $8 million, with Microsoft paying a subscription of $125,000. There are some 1,200 members. ®

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