"And being in cross hair, it's hard to get out," says Mr Smith.
The natural tendency of young technological forces is to fight. "They did not get to the point where they made compromises," Mr Smith said. "They got to where they were because they were sticking to their weapons. And so they tend to think they are right and the government is wrong. ”
This mentality is especially important for extremely successful and wealthy founders. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, according to Mr Smith, "learned that life actually requires compromises and governments are actually stronger than companies," only after a blue-collar confrontation.
At Microsoft, Mr. Smith embarked on a new path. Horatio Gutierrez, a former senior Microsoft lawyer who is now Spotify's attorney general, said: "We went to deal with governments in a reactive, defensive way to reach and be active."
While Mr. Smith cleansing Microsoft's legacy of legal issues, the tech industry is moving forward. The personal computer is no longer the center of gravity shifted by smartphones, web search, social networks and cloud computing.
"What you saw at Microsoft acknowledged the reality and the response to changed circumstances," said A. Douglas Melamed, a professor at Stanford Law School. Microsoft is not the focus of criticism today, he said, "largely because the company is not dominant in visible ways as before."