Microsoft Not Soft On Mike Rowe

A 17-year-old who irked Microsoft Corp. with an Internet domain name that sounded a lot like the software giant is back online after he had to take down his Web site - but not because of legal action.

Mike Rowe of Victoria had registered his site as www.mikerowesoft.com, but took it down Monday, saying too many people were trying to look at it.

The high school student and part-time Web designer said he couldn't pay for the extra bandwidth to keep his site open to all the traffic.

His site is back online now.

After his story drew widespread media coverage over the weekend, Rowe said a quarter of a million people tried to look at his site in 12 hours.

"It's a good thing but, wow, I never expected it," he said.

Still, all the attention has generated web design business.

"If anything, I'm gaining business. Quite a lot of people want me to do some work," Rowe said.

Rowe registered the name in August. In November, he was contacted by Microsoft lawyers informing him he was committing copyright infringement.

A 25-page letter arrived last week with a fat package of supporting materials threatening legal action, the teen said.

The letter said customers of Microsoft could be confused by his domain name.

"It's not their name," Rowe said last weekend. "It's my name. I just think it's kind of funny that they'd go after a 17-year-old."

Company spokesman Jim Desler said Sunday, "Microsoft has been in communication with Mr. Rowe in a good faith effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. And we remain hopeful we can resolve this issue to everyone's satisfaction."

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