Canadian teenager Mike Rowe, who shot to fame last week after Microsoft decided to threaten him for registering and using the domain name MikeRoweSoft.com, has settled out of court with the software giant.
When Microsoft's Canadian lawyers discovered Rowe's Web site, they told him he was infringing on Microsoft's trademark and demanded he transfer the domain in exchange for $10, the cost of his registration fee. Rowe refused because he liked the domain name and had spent money starting his Web design business, so he asked for $10,000 to "cover his costs" and contacted the press. Over the next week, Rowe’s story was published all over the world and Microsoft's PR machine eventually admitted it had taken the matter too seriously.
On Saturday, according to The Seattle Times, Microsoft and Mike Rowe came to an agreement. In exchange for transferring control of his domain name, Microsoft has promised to help Rowe set up a new Web site, pay for a Microsoft certification course and subscription to the Microsoft Developer Network Web site and pay for his family to visit Microsoft Research Tech Fest at Redmond in March. To top it all off, he will get an Xbox with some games.
Rowe's new Web site, which is called MikeRoweForums.com, already has more than 700 members and carries advertising banners for Kazaa. According to the site, Rowe decided to settle because he didn't have a fraction of Microsoft's resources and couldn't face spending the next few years in a courtroom: "I have a budget of about $1,000 to spend on lawyers while Microsoft has a billion. If I happened to lose after everything I would have to pay the lawyers myself, which would make the rest of my life horrible," he said.
Rowe has offered to return any money donated to his defence fund. "As Microsoft has kindly offered to pay my out-of-pocket expenses, these donations will no longer be necessary. As I have said from the beginning, I was not into this to make money," he added.