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Microsoft Office Faces Sales Ban From 11 January

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Office Faces Sales Ban From 11 January

We've been here before - many, many times...

Remember that proposed sales injunction on Word? It broke out when Canadian software company i4i sued over a patent dispute for the way Word uses XML files (those horrible things that no-one can ever open while you convert everything back to .doc). Predictably Microsoft launched an appeal. Quite amusingly, today it turns out that appeal has surprisingly been rejected.

What that means is Microsoft has been ordered to stop sales of Word 2007 and Office 2007 across the US by 11 January unless it modifies the software to comply with the patent dispute. On the other hand Microsoft could simply settle the case, pay up and continue as normal. Consequently the company has announced:

"We have just learned that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has denied our appeal in the i4i case. We are moving quickly to comply with the injunction, which takes effect on January 11, 2010... and have put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature from these products," said Microsoft's director of public affairs Kevin Kutz in a statement. "Therefore, we expect to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007, with this feature removed, available for U.S. sale and distribution by the injunction date. In addition, the beta versions of Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010, which are available now for downloading, do not contain the technology covered by the injunction."

This all smacks of Windows 7 E to me, which proved utterly pointless and a complete waste of time and money after it eventually agreed to an EU approved browser ballot screen. So can't we all sort this out amicably?

"While we are moving quickly to address the injunction issue, we are also considering our legal options, which could include a request for a rehearing by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals en banc or a request for a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court," concluded Kutz.

I guess not then...


Microsoft Statement


December 23, 2009, 6:27 pm

I would recommend people read the Engadget report. It gives a much fairer and balanced account. The company in question i4i are not patent trolls. Microsoft used their IP without due consideration or recompense, the judge has acted rightly and fairly. i4i actually used their methods for the USPTO database...


December 24, 2009, 7:08 am

@Max Power - based on your comment you clearly could not have misread this story more if you tried.

What you argue is exactly what this story points out: Microsoft used i4i's IP without due consideration, is not settling as it should and is therefore taking ridiculous steps to circumvent the judge's ruling.

I think you need to read it again. This time, by looking closely at the words ;)


December 24, 2009, 10:57 am

All this nonsense just ends up in costing us, the buyers, more.

Whether MS pays up or modifies the software, or whatever - will cost money.


December 24, 2009, 10:58 am

"...XML files (those horrible things that no-one can ever open while you convert everything back to .doc)"

.DOC files (those horrible, bloated, proprietary files you are forced to open while you convert everything back to open document format)


December 24, 2009, 1:26 pm

I feel that all this is a bit of a side show, and the main event is the price. I have Office 2003 on my work PC and the only App I still make use of is Publisher which I can't find a viable Open-Source replacement for.

With a combination of Open Office and Google Docs there is precious little incentive for me to fork out more cash on upgrading. I can only assume that buyers of Office 2010 will be people who haven't heard of Open-Source or attach some sort of snob value to having MS Office.

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