the days roll by and Microsoft's 60-day compliance windows closes,
the company is pleading with courts to lift the injunction. It
says that if the injunction is not lifted it will likely be forced to
stop selling Microsoft
Office for several months.
defense team, "Microsoft and its distributors face the imminent
possibility of a massive disruption in their sales. If left
undisturbed, the district court’s injunction will inflict
irreparable harm on Microsoft by potentially keeping the centerpiece
of its product line out of the market for months. The injunction
would block not only the distribution of Word, but also of the entire
Office suite, which contains Word and other popular programs."
are puzzled, though, as to why Microsoft would stop selling Office,
rather than simply changes it file format and distinguishing between
the current and XML-less editions. States Barry Negrin, a
partner with the New York firm Pryor Cashman LLP who has practiced
patent and trademark law for 17 years, "All Microsoft has to do
is disable the custom XML feature, which should be pretty easy to do,
then give that a different SKU number from what’s been sold so it’s
easy to distinguish the two versions."
In the unlikely
event that Microsoft does indeed carry through on its claim to stop
selling Office, it could prove a headache for consumers and
businesses, who rely on the software's functionality. However,
light-weight alternatives such as Open Office 3 (which nears Office
2007 in functionality) and Google Docs could get a brief boost if
Microsoft Office disappeared for several months -- a prospect that
has some excited.
quote: "All Microsoft has to do is disable the custom XML feature, which should be pretty easy to do, then give that a different SKU number from what’s been sold so it’s easy to distinguish the two versions."
quote: ...having worked in the software industry for about 17 years, let me just call BS on this one.
quote: And I'm calling BS on your calling it BS. Do you work in the commercial software industry? I do - and MrBlastman is dead on accurate with his assessment.
quote: The point being that this is a relatively special case in terms of the change needed and the risk involved. Doesn't look to me like something that needs full regression testing.
quote: But in this case, I do think it would be pretty trivial for MS to just make unavailable the format in question. Just remove it from the options in the file dialog. Wouldn't take them much to do that. Or to verify it didn't break anything.
quote: Option 1: They can't or are unwilling to pay the $290M? Absurd, it's practically pocket change to MS. They've got billions in cash and liquid assets, they could pay it in 24 hours if they had to.
quote: Microsoft was reportedly hurt in the proceedings by a published trail of emails that indicated that the company knew that it was infringing on i4i's work.
quote: Either way, they win in the end by having the format they wanted all along available. When you are large and have lots of money, you can muscle people around like that.
quote: Microsoft isn't the victim here.
quote: The “Custom XML” term used in Microsoft literature does not mean a customized XML element tag which marks-up a block of text. For Microsoft, “Custom XML” is just another name for what Jones calls “XML Data Store” — a file added to a MS Office document. quote: The i4i patent describes a document format and method of encoding where the document content — stored in the “raw content area” — “is totally unstructured and has no embedded metacodes in the data stream.” The i4i patent further states that the document structure’s definition is described in a separate “metacode map” where “for each metacode applied to the content, an entry in the metacode map is created which describes the metacode and gives its position.”
quote: The i4i patent describes a document format and method of encoding where the document content — stored in the “raw content area” — “is totally unstructured and has no embedded metacodes in the data stream.” The i4i patent further states that the document structure’s definition is described in a separate “metacode map” where “for each metacode applied to the content, an entry in the metacode map is created which describes the metacode and gives its position.”
quote: A lot of misleading information about i4i v. Microsoft has recently appeared in the news. Many self-proclaimed experts have merely skimmed the original i4i patent claims and concluded that the patent covers both Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), and that the patent should never have been approved because it covers prior arts. Well, those “experts” are not quite right. The i4i patent application clearly describes the differences between SGML and the i4i solution; in fact, the i4i patent contains a focused description of a specific method which has nothing to do with XML. This i4i patented method is actually used in one specific part of the MS Office 2007 data format. Microsoft misleadingly uses the term “Custom XML” for a document part — as we can see in this MSDN reference article — even though it is not XML at all. It is just a file — any raw file — that can be stored within the XML-based MS Office 2007 file format in addition to the main document parts. A detailed analysis of the root cause of this confusion follows.
quote: The XML specification produced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) describes a method for marking up structured documents using markup tags that specify the content’s purpose rather than its formatting. While the (optional) XML content formatting description may be present, it does not actually have to exist at all. If present, the content formatting description is stored separately from the structured content. Otherwise, the document interpretation is based solely on the XML markup tags which mark the content’s purpose. Therefore, the XML document content is structured and mixed-up with purpose-descriptive markup tags, while — on the other hand — the i4i patented method explicitly keeps document content in a “totally unstructured” raw form. This characteristic clearly differentiates the i4i patented method from the XML method. The only similarity between XML and the i4i patented method is that both separate the formatting description from the document content.