Office code opens to gov't

Microsoft Corp. will allow government officials access to the source code that underlies the company's popular Office 2003 software, Microsoft officials announced Sept 19.

The move is part of the company's Government Security Program, and applies to the government of any nation using Microsoft products. The stated purpose of the program is to improve the level of trust that government officials have in the security and interoperability of Microsoft products, company officials said.

The program, launched in January 2003, already offers access to the source code of Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003 and CE operating systems. It also allows opportunities for government officials to tour Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., development facilities; meet with Microsoft staff to share concerns or ideas; and o review the process that company officials used in developing the software products.

The program is an extension of Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative.

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