2004/09/21

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Meet Microsoft's 'spiritual leader' for Antitrust Compliance:
Even after the trial, however, Snapp and her team are grappling with some significant antitrust issues.

One of them began last year, when the Justice Department and the states involved in the settlement raised concerns over the terms of a licensing program through which Microsoft offers competitors access to "communications protocols" that let their server software work more effectively with Windows for PCs.

The idea is to help level the playing field between Microsoft and its rivals. But critics called Microsoft's original terms unreasonable, and demand for the licenses has been less than the government had hoped. As a result, Microsoft has made a series of changes designed to encourage more licensing deals.

Inside the company, Snapp has "tirelessly championed" the effort to rework the program's terms, said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel. "Even in situations where other people might have lost their patience or succumbed to frustration, Mary just kept pushing things forward, which is absolutely what we needed to do to be successful."

One of Snapp's colleagues in the legal department said it wasn't an unusual role for her to play.

"We are all advocates for compliance, but Mary is in the position of really having an impact on other people's attitudes," said Nancy Anderson, a Microsoft deputy general counsel. "It's absolutely critical that the person who has her set of responsibilities be that advocate, that spiritual leader."

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