Microsoft puts squeeze on reporter over leaked documents

How come Microsoft has subpoenaed a reporter for documents and emails? Audit trail, we reckon...

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CNet reporter Dan Goodin has been hit by a Microsoft subpoena demanded the return of "internal Microsoft documents" he says he used to produce recent stories. Exactly why Microsoft wants the stuff back from Goodin (if there is a 'back' for emails) is unclear -- Microsoft's internal documentation has been sprinkled across most of the planet over the past few months, so how come Microsoft doesn't subpoena everybody? And that Markoff guy from the New York Times has had a few good ones himself, so he must be pretty miffed by Microsoft starting with Goodin. Microsoft is seeking all documentation, including emails, that he used to produce the stories, and that's a situation we're pretty familiar with in the UK, although as we understand it it's less common in the Land of the Free. Typically companies will demand the return of 'their' property in order to try to track how the reporter came by it in the first place. But it's a high-risk strategy - some publishers will roll over, but reporters tend towards the martyrdom option, and the company involved usually ends up drawing more attention to the story than would have been the case if it had let it alone. The story in question (CNet story) quoted Microsoft as trying to acquire, invest in and do deals with companies to "take mindshare away from Sun". It also refers to the content of Microsoft documentation subpoenaed by Sun, but it's not entirely clear how much of the source material Goodin had was public domain (because as we say, a lot of this stuff has been out for some time). Microsoft may therefore suspect that Goodin's source or sources may lead to the Sun action against Microsoft. Microsoft is already claiming Caldera has been leaking court documents in that action, and the most plausible explanation is that the company wants to establish that this is happening in one or more of the other actions. That certainly makes more sense than the company mounting a quest to identify and extinguish an internal squealer -- that would probably just make them squeal louder. ® Click for more stories

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