Brian Caulfield found that a company called Selerity got Microsoft's earnings early, before they were officially announced. But they did not hack their way in or steal them, they just guess the name of webpage, or URL, that had the earnings posted on them.
There is a fairly common practice to create web pages that are published and live, just not yet linked to main pages. The pages exist, you just have to know how to find them.
The Selerity company actually searches for earnings releases using technology to try to guess the earnings webpage name.
Selerity reported Microsoft's earnings at 2:50 EST. Microsoft usually reports them at the close of the stock market.
"How Selerity Got Microsoft’s Earnings Early", Brian Caulfield, Shiny Objects on Blogs.Forbes.com, January 27, 2011.