About Today in Technology

In this series, Microsoft’s Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne explore the future of technology through the lessons of history.

Join them as they visit places like Switzerland to retrace Cold War negotiations between a Russian and an American, and to Appleton, Wisconsin, to look at innovation in the heart of 1880’s America.

Brad Smith is Microsoft’s President. He is responsible for the company’s corporate, external, and legal affairs and serves as the company’s chief legal officer. He plays a key role in representing the company externally and in spearheading the company’s work on critical issues relating to the intersection of technology and society, including cybersecurity, privacy, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion. Smith leads a team of more than 1,400 professionals working in 56 countries that are responsible for Microsoft’s legal, public policy, government affairs, social responsibility, corporate philanthropy, corporate governance, and intellectual property work.

Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, became the company’s General Counsel in 2002 and was named President in 2015. He has overseen numerous negotiations leading to privacy, security, competition law, and intellectual property agreements with governments around the world and with companies across the IT sector. He has played a leading role within Microsoft and in the IT sector on security, privacy, intellectual property, immigration and computer science education policy issues. In 2013 he was named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States. In 2014, the New York Times called Smith “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large.”

Since 2015 Smith has served on the Netflix board of directors. He has played a leadership role locally and nationally on numerous charitable, business and legal initiatives, including work to advance diversity and pro bono initiatives. He serves as chair of the board of directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program, at the appointment of the governor.

Smith grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Green Bay was the big city next door. He attended Princeton University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a focus on international relations and economics. He earned his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was an associate and then partner at the Washington, D.C.-based firm of Covington and Burling, where he is still remembered as the first attorney in the long history of the firm to insist (in 1986) on having a personal computer on his desk as a condition for accepting a job offer.

Carol Ann Browne is a Director of Executive Communications at Microsoft. She joined Microsoft in 2010 and is an experienced communicator with a broad background in writing, video, multimedia, and social media work. Before joining Microsoft, she worked at Sun Microsystems and Burson-Marsteller. Browne grew up in El Paso, Texas and graduated from Arizona State University and its Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Browne and Smith have collaborated on a wide variety of writing, video, and other communications in the United States and around the world, including the “Today in Technology” blog series.

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