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MS hires compliance lawyers to keep it honest

Pre-emptive strike on final judgment

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Microsoft's eagerness to comply with the terms of the antitrust settlement deal that it has appointed not one but two legal compliance officers, early. Indeed, as the Proposed Final Judgment remains merely proposed until the judge decides whether or not to accept it, Microsoft might find itself not needing its two appointments at all.

Not to comply with the terms of a Final Judgment, anyway - but whichever way the courts cut it, it probably does make sense for Microsoft to have a couple of skilled antitrust and compliance lawyers inside keeping it honest. Or as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer puts it:

"As a major employer and a leader in our industry, we take our legal obligations very seriously. These new compliance officers will help us do an even better job of understanding our responsibilities under the law and ensuring that all our people know what’s expected of them. We are committed to full compliance with the antitrust settlement, as well as all the other laws and regulations affecting our business."

There you go, an even better job than Microsoft's been doing all this time. Heart-warming stuff, and don't we all remember the tributes paid to Microsoft's respect for itsw legal obligations by the District and Appeals Courts?

The officers are Odell Guyton and David Dadoun. Guyton, a former federal prosecutor and most recently compliance officer at the University of Pennsylvania, will serve as director of compliance. Dadoun is a former antitrust enforcement lawyer for the FTC, and was more recently a partner in Seattle law firm Foster Pepper & Shefelman, dealing in antitrust. He's actually been working for Microsoft since at least October, dealing with antitrust aspects of the company's M&A strategy.

Foster Pepper & Shefelman let about 30 attorneys and support staff go in November, the Puget Sound Business Journal tells us, but tis couldn't have included antitrust specialists. Not in Seattle, surely. ®

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