Microsoft forms committee to oversee its actions

Microsoft Corp. named three members of its antitrust compliance committee on Friday, an initial step in complying with court-ordered sanctions designed to keep the software maker's behavior in check.

Microsoft has appointed three of its board members to the committee following the opinion issued last week by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in the U.S. government's antitrust case against the company, Microsoft said in a statement. As part of her decision, Kollar-Kotelly ordered Microsoft to create a group of internal watch-dogs that would help ensure that Microsoft follows orders laid down by the court.

The committee must always include not less than three members who are neither present nor former company employees, Microsoft noted. Microsoft's board of directors passed a resolution Friday to form the committee, Microsoft said.

James Cash, a Microsoft board member and Harvard Business School professor, will serve as chairman of the antitrust compliance committee, the statement said. Raymond Gilmartin, a Microsoft board member and the chairman, chief executive officer and president of Merck & Co. Inc. will also be on the committee. Ann McLaughlin Korologos, former U.S. secretary of labor and a Microsoft board member, is the last member.

The compliance committee is required to hire a compliance officer who will report to both the committee and to Microsoft's chief executive officer, Steve Ballmer.

"I want to be clear that we have heard both those who have supported us and those who have criticized us," Ballmer said during a news conference following the release of Kollar-Kotelly's opinion last week. "Compliance is both a corporate commitment and a personal responsibility for all our employees."

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Ashlee Vance

IDG News Service

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