AtStake fires executive over Microsoft criticism

Friday, 26 September 2003, 8:33 AM EST

The chief technology officer for a technology firm that works closely with Microsoft Corp. lost his job after he helped write a study critical of the insecurity of Microsoft software.

Daniel E. Geer Jr., an expert with nearly three decades studying technology and computer security, learned Thursday he was no longer employed by AtStake Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.

AtStake declined to say whether Geer resigned or was fired. Spokeswoman Lona Therrien said Microsoft did not call for Geer's dismissal, which AtStake said was effective two days ago. Microsoft also said it was not involved in the decision.

But critics said Geer's firing was reflective of Microsoft's far-reaching ability in Washington and across the technology industry to silence experts who complain about weaknesses in its software or its aggressive business practices. The Justice Department struggled years ago to find technology executives willing to testify against Microsoft in its antitrust trial.

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