Oracle has pulled out of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) for what appear to be national political reasons.
The computer giant chose not to renew its ITAA membership for several reasons, it said, one of them being that ITAA President Harris Miller is reportedly considering a challenge to Virginia Senator George Allen, a Republican, said vice president of congressional and legislative affairs at Oracle, Robert Hoffman.
Allen has been active in technology issues since he was elected to the Senate in 2000. He is a former governor of Virginia and was a vocal co-sponsor in 2005 of an anti-spyware bill, along with a bill to extend a moratorium on taxes unique to the Internet. Many political observers mention Allen as a potential candidate for US president in 2008.
"It concerned many of us at Oracle that Harris would consider challenging Senator Allen, considering the great things he's done," Hoffman said. "We don't think tech issues are partisan issues at all. We as an industry should support our friends and stand by them."
Miller is a long-time Democrat and hasn't confirmed he is considering a run for the Senate, but news reports have said he is looking it. An ITAA spokesman didn't have an immediate response to Oracle's decision.
Other factors contributed to Oracle's decision to leave ITAA, Hoffman said. Oracle belongs to several other technology trade groups, including TechNet and the Information Technology Industry Council, and the company has wanted some consolidation of the dozens of tech trade groups operating in Washington, Hoffman said. The large number of IT trade groups can be confusing to members of Congress, he said.
"We should as an industry look at ways we can better work together," headded. "There is an enormous amount of overlap."
Miller joined ITAA, one of the largest IT trade groups, in 1995. In addition to his position at ITAA, he's also president of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance, a group representing 38 high-tech trade groups from around the world.