Mike Rowe settlement

This just in … Microsoft has reached an agreement with Mike Rowe, the Canadian teenager who was using the Web site mikerowesoft.com in alleged violation of the Microsoft tradmark. Here are the details, as relayed to us by Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler. In exchange for Mike turning over the mikerowesoft.com domain to Microsoft, the company has:

  • Agreed to help direct any traffic from mikerowesoft.com to Rowe’s new Web site (which he’s currently working on) to make sure he doesn’t lose any business. The company will pay any out-of-pocket expenses related to this change, including cost associated with changing over to the new url and any other expenses. (The Rowe family is now calculating those expenses.)
  • Invited Mike and his family on to the Microsoft campus for the company’s Microsoft Research Tech Fest in March. The company will pay for the travel and accommodations. No promises, but it’s possible he could meet Bill Gates, depending on the Microsoft chairman’s schedule, Desler said.
  • Agreed to pay for Mike to get Microsoft Certification training. Depending on which courses he chooses, this could lead him to become a certified support technician, or system administrator, or something along those lines.
  • Agreed to give Mike a subscription to MSDN, the Microsoft Developer Network Web site, with various tools for developing software around Microsoft products.
  • Agreed to give Mike an Xbox game system, complete with a number of games of his choosing.

Said Desler: “It is a story of a young, bright kid starting a business, came up with a creative domain, and I think our initial step was maybe perhaps a bit too impersonal. Once we understood the circumstances around it, we wanted to work things out in a way that would be fair to him.” He said the company also wanted “to do things in a way that would foster his interest in technology.”

Said Kim Rowe, Mike’s father: “It’s nice that this is over, so that he can go back to being Michael. He still has school and if he fails, that’s six months of his life gone. He’s also setting up his new Web site so that things can get zipped over there quickly and it will be ready and stuff, because he’s going to get a whole whack of hits.”

Mike, in a brief phone interview this afternoon, said he feels “good” about the way things turned out. “I’m just looking forward to all the media going away,” he said. “I’m pleased that everything is over and we settled.”

[seattlepi.com Microsoft Blog]

A good recovery from a PR nightmare from Microsoft.