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Etc...

Hey, don't mess with us, kid

What could one teenager from British Columbia possibly do to anger Microsoft? He registered an Internet domain last summer using his given name. Then, in November, he received his first letter from lawyers for the software giant, accusing him of copyright infringement and insisting that he initiate a transfer to the company forthwith. Well, OK, there's more to it than that. The youth's name is Mike Rowe and he thought it would be clever to name his small website design business mikerowesoft.com. What's more, when he asked to be rewarded for surrendering the domain name, the other Micro-soft offered ... $10. Insulted, he counterproposed $10,000, saying: "It's not their name; it's my name." Now the lawyers have sent a 25-page letter all but accusing him of attempted extortion. A spokesman said the company's efforts have been in "good faith" and that it hopes for "a mutually agreeable resolution."

Who's biggest? megadeals shift US bank rankings

Valentine's Day came early to Wall Street, with the recently announced merger of financial services heavyweights J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank One. The $58 billion deal would form the nation's second-largest bank, eclipsing Bank of America's previously announced acquisition of FleetBoston. Both arrangements need regulatory and shareholder approval. Presuming that's granted, these will be the 10 largest banks by assets (in billions, unless otherwise noted), according to trade publication American Banker:

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1. Citigroup Inc. $1.2 trillion
2. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.-Bank One Corp. 1.1 trillion
3. Bank of America Corp.- FleetBoston Financial Corp. 966.4
4. Wells Fargo & Co. 369.6
5. Wachovia Corp. 364.3
6. Washington Mutual Inc. 241.9
7. U.S. Bancorp 194.9
8. National City Corp. 123.4
9. SunTrust Banks Inc. 120.9
10. Bank of New York 99.6 - Associated Press


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