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Microsoft Takes It Back, Promises Not To Snoop On Emails

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The Microsoft logo is seen before the start of a media event in San Francisco, California on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, unveiled a version of Office designed for the iPad today. Microsoft is tapping into its software past as it maps its future in the rapidly changing world of Internet technology. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A week after saying it was justified in snooping through a blogger's Hotmail account to track down a leaker of company software, Microsoft has changed course, saying it will refer such matters to law enforcement starting immediately.

The reversal, explained by general counsel Brad Smith in a blog post Friday, follows last week's revelation that it searched through emails and instant messages of a blogger who Microsoft believed had received proprietary code illegally.

The search, in 2012, led to Alex Kibkalo, a Russian native who worked for Microsoft as a software architect in Lebanon. Microsoft turned over the case to the FBI in July 2013.

Smith now says the company "will not inspect a customer's private content ourselves" and will refer the matter to law enforcement if action is needed.

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