VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA: When Microsoft butts heads with rivals, it's often seen as another David versus Goliath.This time, David is 17-year-old Mike Rowe, who has invoked Microsoft's wrath with his website MikeRoweSoft.com. Microsoft demanded Rowe give up the domain name in November, asserting the name could confuse customers. He refused, and asked for compensation for his website development business. Deep-pocketed Microsoft came back with a $10 offer, which Rowe scoffed at, asserting his business was worth $10,000. Microsoft wasn't about to back down, and sent Rowe a 25-page letter a few weeks ago threatening legal action, Rowe told the media. Rowe has proven to be a PR pro in training. He generated so much international media coverage of his fight that not only did 250,000 visitors flock to his website last Monday, but Microsoft was forced to do the almost unthinkable - admit that maybe they were wrong. "We take our trademark seriously, but in this case maybe a little too seriously," Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler told the press. "We appreciate that Mike Rowe is a young entrepreneur who came up with a creative domain name, so we're currently in the process of resolving this matter in a way that will be fair to him and satisfy our obligations under trademark law." Rowe's woes have generated coverage from the London Free Press, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Fox News, Reuters, CNN, AP, and pretty much anyone else with an opinion about Microsoft. While Rowe said he didn't expect this much attention just because Microsoft was threatening a 17-year-old kid, he has managed to keep it all in perspective. "I think it'll be very good for me in the long run," Rowe told CNN. "Getting into university might be easier for me after this." So because of Rowe's media prowess, and his ability to reduce Microsoft to the level of a schoolyard bully, we award Rowe our PR Play of the Week.
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