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Microsoft to Share More Technical Secrets

Microsoft executives, in a conference call, characterized the announcement as “a major step” and a “strategic shift” in the company’s business practices and its handling of technical information. They also portrayed the moves as only partly a nod to the continuing challenge Microsoft faces from Europe’s antitrust regulators.

The broader goal, they said, is to bring Microsoft’s flagship personal computer products — the Windows operating system and Office productivity programs — further into the Internet era of computing. Increasingly there needs to be a seamless transfer of documents, data and programming code among desktop PCs and the Internet, especially as more computing tasks shift from the PC to the Web.

“These steps are being taken on our own,” said Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive. The move, he said, is a recognition of Microsoft’s “unique legal situation,” but it is also the company’s effort to adapt to “the opportunities and risks of a more connected, more services-oriented world.”

The first major step Microsoft is taking is to put on its Web

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