Ex-Microsoft Employee Charged for Leaking Windows 8 Info

... even though nobody cares about Windows 8. 

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A former Microsoft employee, Alex A. Kibkalo,  was arrested for leaking Windows 8 to an unnamed French blogger back in 2012, and now faces theft of trade secrets charges for revealing the information.

The court filing cited the testimony of an FBI agent working on the case. In his words, Kibkalo had sent the blogger confidential information and urged him to spread it around, so that others could recreate the software, in apparent retaliation for a poor review he'd received from the company in 2012:

According to Microsoft, their investigation revealed unauthorized transmissions of proprietary and confidential Microsoft trade secrets from Alex A. Kibkalo, a Russian national and former Microsoft employee in Lebanon, to a technology blogger in France (hereafter "the blogger"). Microsoft's investigation revealed that in July and August 2012, Kibkalo had uploaded proprietary software including pre-release software updates for Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, as well as the Microsoft Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK) to a computer in Redmond, Washington and subsequently to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account.... After uploading the SDK to his SkyDrive account on August 18, 2012, Kibkalo provided the blogger with links to the file on his SkyDrive account and encouraged the blogger share the SDK with others who might be able to reverse engineer the software and write 'fake activation server' code." 

According to the Guardian, the blogger then uploaded screenshots of Windows 8 online -- and these didn't make much of an impression on the tech community.

For his part Kibkalo, who admitted to sharing the information, doesn't appear to have done a great job covering his tracks. The testimony continues

An email from Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo was found within the the blogger's Hotmail account which established that Kibkalo shared confidential Microsoft information and data with the blogger through Kibkao's Windows Live Messenger account, akibkalo@mail.ru.

And the IM conversations between Kibkalo and the blogger were less than subtle, taking the juvenile-heist tone many of these conversations seem to:

Kibkalo: I would leak enterprise today probably

Blogger: Hmm

                 are you sure you want to do that? lol 

Kibkalo: why not?

And bragging about previous offense:

Kibkalo: Mm

                 To be honest, in nwin7_rtm and win7_sp1

After asking another former Microsoft employee if he wanted in on the action, the blogger said to Kibkalo, "that's crossing a line you know pretty illegal lol" to which Kibkalo replied "I know :)" Rookie mistake, we guess.

Microsoft seems to have bigger Windows 8 problems than product leaks, however. Back in December, Slate's Will Oremus wrote that "a year after it was released, Microsoft's new operating system is a certifiable flop." Oremus continues:

There are two obviously relevant points of comparison for Windows 8’s adoption figures, and they’re both so bad that it’s very difficult to say which is worse. The first comes from Statista, the Germany-based online statistics portal, which compared the growth in market share for Windows 8 in its first year to that of its predecessor, Windows 7, in the year after its release in October 2009. 

So we have a feeling not that many people cared to emulate Windows 8.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.