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Reuters: Microsoft e-mail service crippled over missed billingDec 30, 1999, 07:14 (1 Talkback[s])
"The glitch was caused after Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft failed to pay a $35 fee to registration company Network Solutions for rights to the Internet domain name passport.com, which verifies user names and passwords..."
"In an ironic twist, the missed billing was discovered and paid by Michael Chaney, an Antioch, Tenn.-based programmer who works with the Linux operating system, an upstart competitor to Microsoft's Windows platform."
"... Chaney said he paid the fee with his personal Mastercard on Christmas morning and had received a call on Tuesday from a Microsoft executive thanking him for fixing the problem."
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