updated 11/24/2004 3:30:58 PM ET 2004-11-24T20:30:58

The landmark antitrust settlement this month between Microsoft and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, one of its oldest adversaries, resulted in a $9.75m payment to the CCIA's top official, according to confidential documents seen by the FT.

Ed Black, CCIA president and for years one of Microsoft's fiercest opponents in antitrust investigations, netted almost half the $19.75m total payment Microsoft paid the association. His payment was approved by the CCIA board, which includes Sun Microsystems, Yahoo and Oracle.

Mr Black and Microsoft on Tuesday refused to comment on the details. However, the US software group said its payment had been to the CCIA alone and it had had no "visibility" where the money would go. The payment not diclosed when the two sides presented the deal on November 8 casts new light on a settlement many saw as a historic truce. The CCIA ended its support for the European Commission in the six-year antitrust battle against Microsoft, and withdraw a sweeping antitrust complaint it filed to the Brussels regulator in 2003.

Microsoft said it would "compensate [the] CCIA for certain legal-related expenditures it has incurred ... and provide substantial institutional support for new and important policy undertakings".

Microsoft claimed at the time the deal demonstrated the industry's ability to settle antitrust concerns without regulators, and reduced the need for further action by the Commission.

The agreement distinguishes between the Microsoft's overall payment to the CCIA, and the parts relating to Mr Black, which were signed off by the CCIA board alone.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

However, one CCIA member said yesterday Microsoft "would have had to be aware" of the approximate size of the package granted to the president by the CCIA board.

In an annex to the agreement, the CCIA board agreed the "one-time bonus" to Mr Black, as well as a three-year contract with a salary of $500,000 a year.

The CCIA has been particularly active in the Commission investigation that in March this year resulted in a record €497m fine for Microsoft.

The judge hearing Microsoft's legal challenge against that ruling has called a meeting of the parties involved on Thursday.

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.


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