A Linux advocate was responsible for keeping Microsoft's HotMail email service up and running last week, when he paid a $35 Internet domain registration fee the company had forgotten about. On Christmas eve, the Hotmail service was rendered inoperable when Network Solutions pulled the plug on passport.com, the Microsoft Web site that controls access to the company's various other Internet servers. By the next day, when the service was still unavailable, Linux advocate Michael Chaney, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, discovered why the site was down. So he paid the bill and Hotmail service was restored.
"Microsoft still owns \[passport.com\]," He said. "I just paid the bill."
Though the fee for the registration is only $35, Chaney feels that Microsoft owes him much more than that: The company makes millions of dollars a year from advertising on Hotmail, advertising that wouldn't have been available had he not gotten the service restored.
"We obviously owe Mr. Chaney a huge thanks," says Microsoft spokeswoman Kathy Gill. "We had someone here give him a call to thank him, and we'll definitely reimburse him for the $35."
"Some stock options wouldn't be bad," Chaney says