I also got this letter back in the day and also was skeptical, but one thing I did not get: what does forwarding an email has anything to do with keeping MS Explorer alive?

My theory is that Microsoft itself made this letter, spread it just for the effect and was sure that people will not believe it and the ones that WILL believe will forward it to everyone and feel stupid later for being such fools. Microsoft (in my theory) wasn't gonna pay nothing to no one and will deny having anything to do with this BS. And the effect is complete...