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I hope he can sue them and win.

What Microsoft should have done is obvious: Get the case before a judge and get a search warrant. Use the search warrant to access the communications.

Just because you own the email servers doesn't mean you get to play judge and jury.

On what grounds? IANAL (and I am a Microsoft employee), but this makes no sense to me. As far as I know, warrants are for government agencies, not companies. And assuming a civil case where they were demanding that the provider turn over the emails, wouldn't their conversation with the judge go something like this?

Microsoft: “Judge, we demand that Microsoft turn over these emails.” Judge: “???”

(that is, can you even procedurally attempt to force discovery against yourself?)

Not to mention that the EULA seems to pretty clearly cover exactly this scenario.

While the EULA may "clearly cover exactly this scenario" do you think it would be as easy to extract the information if it was a google or apple trade secret? I kind of think MS would go to the mat for user privacy in that circumstance.

Well, as I tried to allude to, in those cases Apple or Google would file a motion to compel Microsoft to disclose the info. Is it even possible under the rules of civil procedure for Microsoft to file a motion to compel itself to disclose something? Again, I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that a judge isn't going to hear the argument if there's no case, even if Microsoft did want the same level of scrutiny.

Yeah, the general rule is that you can't sue yourself, since you can't collect any damages.

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