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Antitrust activist departs for FTC

Susan Creighton, one of the key legal minds behind the Microsoft antitrust offensive, will announce Tuesday that she is accepting a position at the Federal Trade Commission.

One of the key legal minds behind the Microsoft antitrust offensive will be concentrating on other matters after her impending move to the Federal Trade Commission.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati on Tuesday will announce that Susan Creighton, one of its star antitrust attorneys, has accepted a position at the FTC.

Creighton, whose white papers are widely credited with sparking the Justice Department's antitrust action against Microsoft, said she was precluded in her new position from commenting on her past work on the Microsoft case but that she was looking forward to the switch from legal counsel to enforcement.

"I love Wilson Sonsini, and it has been a fabulous place to be an antitrust litigator," Creighton said in an interview. "But I have not had a chance to have a role in enforcement before, so I'm very excited about that."

A graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School, Creighton clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor before joining Wilson Sonsini in 1987. Her star began to rise in 1995 with her representation of Silicon Valley companies attempting to enforce a consent decree against Microsoft.

She came to widespread attention with published accounts of the role her white papers, co-authored with then-Wilson Sonsini colleague Gary Reback, played in the subsequent antitrust trial against the software giant. Reback has had an antitrust afterlife of his own, leaving Wilson Sonsini to found Voxeo, a telephony start-up.

Fellow warriors in the Microsoft antitrust fight praised Creighton as she prepared for the move to government work, calling her a prescient and effective behind-the-scenes leader.

"Susan had enormous influence on the Microsoft case over a long period of time," said Mike Pettit, president of ProComp, an organization backed by Microsoft rivals Oracle, Sun Microsystems, America Online and others. "There is simply nobody else like her in terms of ability to clearly articulate the long-term significance of various developments and trends in the tech industry. She has been the resident sage on Microsoft, and I can only hope that she taught enough of us well so that the work she began can be continued and finished."

Other antitrust clients Creighton represented during her tenure at Wilson Sonsini have included VISX, G-Tech, Autodesk, Orbitz, Borland, Synopsys and 3Com.

At the FTC, Creighton will become deputy director at the Bureau of Competition, reporting to the bureau's director, Joseph Simons. Creighton will help decide which cases to take and will help oversee and supervise litigation.

Creigton, 41, reports for duty at the FTC Aug. 21. News of her departure from Wilson Sonsini was first reported by The Recorder, a legal newspaper based in San Francisco.