Not a big news flash, obviously. But stories like this make me scratch my head:

Mike Rowe no soft touch
A 17-year-old Canadian high school student is facing calls from the US computer giant Microsoft to change the name of a website,, he built to showcase his programming skills.
It says that Mike Rowe’s website has infringed its copyright and is demanding he hand it over to them.

Mr Rowe, of Victoria, British Columbia, told the Vancouver Province newspaper: “Since my name is Mike Rowe, I thought it would be funny to add ‘soft’ to the end of it.”

The website has been flooded with interested internet users – 250,000 in one morning – and forced to move to a service provider with a greater capacity as supporters have rallied round its author’s cause.

“I have been all around the world and back. I never expected this type of feedback. I have a defence fund so that I can hire a lawyer to guide me through the process of talking to Microsoft … I could never think this could happen, even in my wildest dreams,” he writes in a weblog.

Does this really threaten the Microsoft empire? Is anyone looking to buy the $6000 Microsoft Office Suite Upgrade XILWI (Service Pack 912, Beta-Charlie #2) going to be misled into dropping the money into Rowe’s tip jar instead? Me thinks not.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. doug says:

    Seems Microsoft is backing off now