2003 Governance Charter: MSFT



The Governance and Nominating Committee's role is to determine the slate of director nominees for election to the Company's Board of Directors, to identify and recommend candidates to fill vacancies occurring between annual shareholder meetings, and to review, evaluate and recommend changes to the Company's Corporate Governance Guidelines.


The membership of the Committee consists of at least two directors, each of whom is to be free of any relationship that, in the opinion of the Board, would interfere with his or her exercise of independent judgment. Applicable laws and regulations will be followed in evaluating a member's independence. The Board appoints the chairperson.


The Committee meets at least twice a year. Additional meetings may occur as the Committee or its chair deems advisable. The Committee will cause to be kept adequate minutes of all its proceedings, and will report its actions to the next meeting of the Board. Committee members will be furnished with copies of the minutes of each meeting and any action taken by unanimous consent. The Governance and Nominating Committee is governed by the same rules regarding meetings (including meetings by conference telephone or similar communications equipment), action without meetings, notice, waiver of notice, and quorum and voting requirements as are applicable to the Board. The Committee is authorized and empowered to adopt its own rules of procedure not inconsistent with (a) any provision of this Charter, (b) any provision of the Bylaws of the Corporation, or (c) the laws of the state of Washington.


The Committee will have the resources and authority necessary to discharge its duties and responsibilities, including the authority to retain outside counsel or other experts or consultants, as it deems appropriate. Any communications between the Committee and legal counsel in the course of obtaining legal advice will be considered privileged communications of the Company and the Committee will take all necessary steps to preserve the privileged nature of those communications.


Subject to the provisions of the Corporate Governance Guidelines, the principal responsibilities and functions of the Governance and Nominating Committee are as follows:

Annually evaluate and report to the Board on the performance and effectiveness of the Board to facilitate the directors fulfilling their responsibilities in a manner that serves the interests of Microsoft Corporation shareholders. [Governance Guideline 16]

Annually present to the Board a list of individuals recommended for nomination for election to the Board at the annual meeting of shareholders.

Before recommending an incumbent, replacement or additional director, review his or her qualifications, including capability, availability to serve, conflicts of interest, and other relevant factors. [Governance Guidelines 1-7 and 9]

Assist in identifying, interviewing and recruiting candidates for the Board.

Annually review the composition of each committee and present recommendations for committee memberships to the Board as needed.

Periodically review the compensation paid to non-employee directors for annual retainers (including Board and committee Chairs) and meeting fees, if any, and make recommendations to the Board for any adjustments. No member of the Committee will act to fix his or her own compensation except for uniform compensation to directors for their services as such.

Regularly review and make recommendations about changes to the charter of the Governance and Nominating Committee.

Regularly review and make recommendations about changes to the charters of other Board committees after consultation with the respective committee chairs.

In addition, the Chair of the Committee will be responsible for leading the Board's annual review of the chief executive officer's performance.

Last Revised: March 9, 2003