Microsoft's general counsel and executive vice-president is stepping down after 22 years now that the company's antitrust problems are drawing to an end.
William Neukom led Microsoft's response to the initial antitrust complaints brought by the US Federal Trade Commission, the US Department of Justice and the EU. The US cases are settled, but things are still ongoing in Europe. Neukom also led the firm's successful seven-year battle with Apple over intellectual property rights. He is being succeeded by Brad Smith, who for the past five years served as Microsoft's deputy general counsel for worldwide sales. Neukom began handling Microsoft's legal work in 1979 while still a partner at Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis. The firm was led by Bill Gates, the father of the software entrepreneur of the same name. Neukom moved in-house in 1985, and has since built a 600-strong law and corporate affairs department boasting 200 lawyers.