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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Janet I. Tu.

June 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Man who stole Microsoft trade secrets gets 3-month prison sentence

Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee, was sentenced to three months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of stealing Microsoft trade secrets.

FBI agents in March arrested Kibkalo on charges that he stole trade secrets related to pre-release software updates for Windows 8 and Microsoft’s “Activation Server Software Development Kit” (SDK), and gave that information to a tech blogger in France.

Kibkalo is a Russian national and former 7-year Microsoft employee who worked as a software architect in Lebanon

Later in March, Kibkalo pleaded guilty and reached an agreement with federal prosecutors, with the prosecutors recommending a 3-month prison sentence, as well as a payment of $22,500 in restitution to Microsoft.

U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour on Tuesday handed down the prison sentence, according to the judgment, which also says Kibkalo was assessed a $100 fee. The judgment also says that a fine was waived because the court found that he was unlikely to be able to pay it. The judgment does not list any restitution amount. (The sentencing, originally scheduled for July 1, had been moved up to Tuesday.)

In a letter to the judge included in the court documents, Kibkalo wrote: “For sure, I got my lesson not to discuss my work projects with external parties.” He also said that when he returns home, he hopes to look for “another interesting full time job, preferably in software security again” and that he is “thinking about publishing a book about my mistakes and the result, which might make more people think on this topic.”

Microsoft itself took a lot of flak for the way in which it found out about Kibkalo.

The company had looked at the email content of a customer — the blogger’s Hotmail account — in the course of tracking down the leak.

Microsoft said, in response to the criticism, that its own terms of service allowed it to carry out such an examination under “exceptional circumstances,” but later changed its policy, saying that, in such circumstances in the future, it would call in law enforcement to inspect a customer’s content, rather than doing so itself.

[Seattle Times researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.]

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: alex kibkalo

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