Suspect in AltaVista hacking case is current Microsoft employee

“A Kirkland man arrested last week on allegations that he stole proprietary technology from the AltaVista search engine two years ago is a Microsoft Corp. employee who has been working on the Redmond company’s MSN Search initiative,” Todd Bishop reports for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“Federal authorities allege that Laurent Chavet, a former AltaVista employee, illegally accessed the California company’s computer system in March 2002 and June 2002, after he left AltaVista and well before he went to work for Microsoft. Chavet, then living in California, copied to his home computer source code that was used by AltaVista ‘to perform the function of scouring the World Wide Web,’ according to an FBI affidavit,” Bishop reports.

Bishop reports, “…people with knowledge of Chavet’s Microsoft employment confirmed that he has been working on the MSN Search effort. A brief biography attached to a paper Chavet co-wrote on text analytics described him as an expert ‘in all aspects of search technology.'”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews article:
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software – May 16, 2003


  1. It’s called corporate espionage.

    And Microsh!t was all too willing to go along with it and look the other direction as long as it was in their favor, but since the guy has been busted, S. Ballmer & Co. will probably say something to the effect of ‘Well, we’re just as surprised as you are. We didn’t know *anything* about it.’


  2. Is this going to be a QuickTime repeat? The parallel is there.
    – MS didn’t see how both technologies could be important
    – MS tried to catch up
    – MS took a shortcut
    – MS infringed on both technologies
    – MS bundles/plans to bundle the technology

    If the parallel holds, AltaVista will settle with MS or else. Then, MS will use Windows to try to monopolize another market and get away with it. DoJ will look at it and do nothing. EU will look at it and do nothing.

  3. This is typical Microsoft!

    They make me sick, they really do.

    How many more technologies have Microsoft stolen through this technique over the year?

    The company has no morals!

    Based on the information in the story it was obvious that he was offered a job by Microsoft and before he started working for them he went back to his old company to steal the source code – Maybe that was one of the terms and conditions for working for Mocrosoft? – They wouldn’t employ him unless he gave them the source code?

    Thant god the FBI aren’t biased towards corporations!

    I hope that they make this public on all the news channels across the glode – then windows users will finaly realise what type of company Microsoft has always been!

    They do this just to keep their precious market share!

    On another note – did any of you know that after the anti-trust decision in Europe, where Microsoft paid $600,000 in fines do to monopolistic disregard for it’s competitors, that one of Microsoft’s Solictor’s (that they employee directly) applied for a position on the monoplies commission board??

    Talk about ilegal or what!!

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