Microsoft reveals secret code to Russia

Russia has become the first country to get its hands on one of the world's most closely guarded corporate secrets -- Microsoft Corp.'s blueprint for its computer programs, the software giant said on Monday.

The U.S. software giant announced last week it would unveil its source code to governments to help them protect state software used for tracking personal data, taxes and ensuring national security.

"Russia is the first country to sign such an agreement with us, but it will not be the only one," said Olga Dergunova, managing director of Microsoft's Moscow office.

Signing on to Microsoft's Government Security Program will allow Russia, and any other signatory, to weave its own technology into Microsoft's Windows platform and adapt Windows to its needs and test its ability to fend off hackers.

With this move, Microsoft aims to strengthen its position in government markets, where it faces growing competitive pressure from free open-source software. Russia, long considered one of the world's most secretive countries itself, in February will receive the first portions of the code -- a sequence of letters and numbers roughly 30 million lines long.

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