Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Microsoft Office and Word Sales to be Banned

Microsoft word 2007Practically everybody that uses a computer more than likely uses Microsoft Office. But what if one day you could no longer buy the popular Microsoft Office? Well that may be closer to a reality then many people might think. That's right, the U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has just upheld a decision that would ban the sales of Microsoft Word and Office starting January 11, 2010.

Way back in May, a patent infringement suit was filed by XML specialists i4i against Microsoft under the circumstances that Word's handling of.xml, .docx and .docm files was an infringement on i4i's patented XML handling algorithms. Although Microsoft did lose this case, the case against further sale of Microsoft Word was put on hold pending results of another appeal.

Unfortunately for Microsoft they lost again and it is expected that the company will appeal once more as well as submit a request for the injunction to be put on hold and taken to the Supreme Court or for Microsoft and i4i to settle. i4i isn't patent greedy or trying to tear down Microsoft or anything like that however.

i4i is a 30 person database design company which shipped one of the first ever XML plugins for Office. i4i is also credited with being responsible for revamping the whole USPTO database around XML so that it would be compatible with the 2000 version of Microsoft Word. The patents that i4i is suing over, surprisingly enough, do not cover XML itself. Instead they cover the specific algorithms used to read and write custom XML. This means all you OpenOffice users can breathe a sigh of relief because i4i stated that the law suit does not infringe. This is also good news for current Microsoft Office users because they, more likely than not, won't be affected. The suit is only intended to affect future sales of Office and Word.

Some more good news from Microsoft is that the company is working quickly to create versions of Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007 that do not have the XML features, which Microsoft claims are "little-used", by the injunction date of January 11, 2010. Microsoft also stated that the beta version of Microsoft Office 2010, which is available for download, will not contain the technology covered in the suit. Microsoft is also considering another appeal so for now all we can do is wait and listen.

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1 comment:

Barry said...

Hey there, loved your article, it is well done.
I would like to comment.
That this is a dark day for MS Word users. I know many people that use word 2003 to 2007.
It would depend on how things go from that moment.
I know that some pastors and many home users use excel 2003 and 2007 for crunching the numbers of the income and what came in.
Knowing that others are a purist when it comes to using excel.
To put it bluntly, in my opinion, the lawsuit was motivated by greed and inconsideration.
Although I have nothing against the company based in Toronto.
being from Canada myself, I have a basic grasp of what greed can do.
The first though came to mind is what the . . . ?
The second thought came to mind, hah . . . !

I think both of our countries had all ready become sue a lot.

i have heard that someone was dragged to court for allegedly causing injury for passing gas.

going back to the topic, we will wait and see how things will play along.
Of what is obvious that almost every MS office user is a bit miffed by this news.
who knows but perhaps a new version of word processor might come into a new form.
Considering the expense of purchasing a new word processor, a majority would migrate to Open office, if that too won't attacked, I hope not.

well anyways, thanks for the article, have a nice day
stay sweet and stay cool