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Mary Snapp: VP and Deputy General Counsel


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Mary Snapp has been at Microsoft for 17 years. She is both a Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, running a group of lawyers and paralegals that support all things legal related to Windows and its set of platforms. Jennifer Ritzinger, our WM_IN correspondent extraordinaire, caught up with her recently and had a great chat about being successful at Microsoft, the interplay between Law and Product development and why she's stayed at MS for so long. I guess it's an understatment to say that Microsoft lawyers are a busy group of folks.



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  • iStationiStation Fuujin
    She seems to be eligible for the next CEO.
    Cool! Cool
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    How did they get that chair in the door?
  • kostik_y2kkostik_y2k Cats, Cats, Cats!
    staceyw wrote:
    How did they get that chair in the door?

    Through Windows [tm]?.. Wink
  • "Intellectual property law", that's some stick you could beat me with. Dealing with legal issues and the European Union Commission is quiet a battle, I assume. MS'ssies should be greatful.

    This woman keeps the money "in da house", so to speak.
    Also Ireland's Microsoft tax bonanza (Ireland's low corporate tax regime has long been a key part of the tax planning at MS) helps.

    Besides that, listen and learn about the demeanor in the male-dominated business-world. It is sad but seems to be still embedded in our western (christian) society. Although not unique, too, as one may look to other cultures.

    We all have to overcome this behaviour.
  • Frank GorgenyiHappyCoding Microsoft Employee

    If you really want to see her on the board you could likely contact the nominating committee at askboard@microsoft.com.

    You can also choose to withhold votes from the member(s) you dislike.  According to the rules if there are more 'withheld' votes then 'for' votes the member must resign leaving a vacancy for the nominating committee to fill.

  • Gary RussoBigDataDev More Cowbell
    Interesting interview especially the final comments on customer/partner challenges.

    Glad to see the focus on diversity.
    Apple needs to take some lessons from Microsoft.

    >> She seems to be eligible for the next CEO.

    Most definitely eligible but hope to have Steve B. at the helm for at least 15 more years.

    I hope she makes it to the Board of Directors.
    Apple's BOD has zero diversity.
  • Not to be mean but .... Im still lost on the point of having her on Channel9?  I think normally there is a point to the excellent presentations here. Thinking about what i just watched I can't really repeat anything that I learned from watching this video?
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    cra451-2 wrote:
    Not to be mean but .... Im still lost on the point of having her on Channel9?  I think normally there is a point to the excellent presentations here. Thinking about what i just watched I can't really repeat anything that I learned from watching this video?

    Not everything on Channel 9 has to be about Technology or Products at Microsoft and the people who build them. There are over 60,000 employees at Microsoft and many of them do not work directly on building a product that you use.

    Channel 9 is as much about people as it is technology made by people.

    Stay tuned for many more interviews like this (as well as the ones that teach you something about technology or a product).

  • leighswordleighsword LeighSword
    The President Bush wrote:
    In our lifetimes, we have already been given a glimpse of this bright future. The advance of freedom and prosperity across the Asian continent has set a hopeful example for all in the world. And though the democracies that have taken root in Asia are new, the dreams they express are ancient. Thousands of years before Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln, a Chinese poet wrote that, "the people should be cherished the people are the root of a country the root firm, the country is tranquil." Today the people of Asia have made their desire for freedom clear -- and that their countries will only be tranquil when they are led by governments of, by, and for the people. to visit President Discusses Freedom and Democracy in Kyoto, Japan for more

    People are the root of a company , product,  and 'technology', we need to find out what is the essential if we want to going deep, not just a To Do list, the video is useful to me, even there are tons of dialogs which I can not understand , you know, you guys are speaking too fast, it seems I need re-add the video into my schedule.
  • That is all fine and dandy Charles but just remember your audience is a technical one.  I agree, this video seemed out of place to me.

    But thanks for the great work you guys are doing.

  • jason818_253.33jason818_25​3.33 Yippi skippy
    It is a luxuriant display of information.

    Excellent Video. I have watched it 4 times. More than I have watched any other video on Channel 9.

    One question. Who's office is this? They like their art work. Wink
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    nightski wrote:

    That is all fine and dandy Charles but just remember your audience is a technical one.  I agree, this video seemed out of place to me.

    But thanks for the great work you guys are doing.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll just reiterate that we don't want to restrict our content to suit one class of Niner. Why should we do that? We are not MSDN... We will continue to release very technical interviews as well the usual Scobleizer style of interview. Further, you will see even more varieties of content coming your way this year and we will deliver it in such a way that you can tune in or tune out.

    We want to give you an accurate look inside the company as well as an honest look inside how we make products and create new technologies.

  • Charles wrote:
    We are not MSDN...


    Um .... could have fooled me!
  • jason818_253.33jason818_25​3.33 Yippi skippy
  • TaskerrTaskerr This ones a Gem!

    I wonder if Mary and her colleagues operate in the stratosphere of Microsoft or do they become involved with the vision of product evolution in a user legal sense at the developer or detail level?

    A users legal document integrity or fidelity in the Office product range still has a long way to go.  When I look at the evolution of the Office product I see its genesis as starting in the non-legal domain, a toy, in a paper bound world.  The product still lives there, is no toy, and has been taken up big time by global government agencies and industries like pharmaceuticals were there is an FDA or other legal requirement.

    Mary works in an undiscovered country and alludes to the difficulties of relating previous case law with new technology.  This seems especially so when the case law can come from many countries and change dynamically.

    What I would like to see, is discussion on how the fidelity of an electronic Office document cited in evidence would be set beyond repudiation.  Perhaps there should be a version of Office designed for this purpose and one used specifically when there was a legal requirement or obligation.

    Another issue is technology related.  If legal documents were stored electronically then their content would need technology to read them, technology that would not be available in the long term.  This contrasts with paper, which requires no technology to impart meaning and which has considerable longevity compared to a hard drive platter.

    Is this the push behind Office 12 going XML, I wonder?  It goes a long way in overcoming the technology issue but reduces the fidelity requirement.  Presumably, digital fingerprints for archived Office products will be built into Office 12?

    Reference: http://www.mass.gov/Aitd/docs/policies_standards/etrm3dot5/responses/microsoft.pdf

  • AlfredThAlfredTh Look for the hat. Without it I look pretty nondescript.
    One of the things people creating technology today need to know is where technology meets the law. Things like patents, copyright, contracts and concent degrees are becoming more and more a part of taking technology from the lab in the back to the market. I think techies should all be required to know something about how lawyers are getting involved in things. So, yeah, I think this belongs on Channel 9.
  • I found a link for this interview at the Don McGowan post. This one was awesome too.

    Thanks for sharing this video with us! 

    I posted a link to this interview on my blog (www.atharkhan.net/blog) so that anyone reading it can see it as well.


    Athar A. Khan.
    2L, Intellectual Property Law Program - Whittier Law School.
    B.S. Electrical Engineering - Illinois Institute of Technology.
    Principal Engineering Systems Analyst - Broadcom Corporation.

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