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Apple falls prey to email prankster

An email message, purported to be from the president of Sony, that threatens a hostile takeover of Apple Computer was making the rounds in Silicon Valley and elsewhere this week. Sony has launched an investigation to collar the culprit.

    An email message, purported to be from Sony president Nobuyuki Idei to Apple CEO Michael Spindler threatening a hostile takeover of the Cupertino, California, computer maker, was making the rounds in Silicon Valley and elsewhere this week.

    At first glance, the message appears to be legitimate, but the hoax becomes apparent in a section that mentions an offer to buy Apple stock at twice its current value.

    Apple executives say they were not taken in because the initial notification of a hostile takeover is not likely to occur via email. The message also incorrectly identifies Idei as Sony's chairman and CEO.

    Sony officials say they have launched an investigation to find the guilty party who wrote the email and that they are exploring the possibility of legal action against the writer.