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Company also says that the ban will cause it "irreparable" harm

I4i's victory in its patent infringement case against Microsoft was a slap in the face for the Redmond juggernaut.  Not only did a judge order $290M USD in damages be awarded to i4i for Microsoft's violation of its XML patents, but it also ordered Microsoft to stop selling Word, in its current form, until a final verdict is reached.  Word currently uses the Office Open XML (OOXML) format, which infringes on i4i's patent.

As 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. 

Writes Microsoft's 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."

Some 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.

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RE: Interesting...
By fleshconsumed on 8/20/2009 8:31:40 PM , Rating: -1
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.

Oh yeah? So easy?

How about:
-adjusting file associations so that user cannot open xml files by clicking them in explorer
-adjusting file open dialog so that when user selects "All Files *.*" option and clicks on xml file Word still won't open it
-Removing option from Save Dialog
-Making sure you can't oped XML file by Dragging and Dropping it into open Word application
-Making sure you can't oped XML file by Dragging and Dropping it into Word Icon on your desktop
-You can also open document using command line something along the lines of "word.exe /f mydoc.docx" you'll have to test that too

This is just what I came up in 30 short seconds after working in the industry for 5 short years. I'm sure removing functionality completely is much much more complicated than that. There is no such thing as Trivial fix for a product such as the Word.

RE: Interesting...
By Motoman on 8/20/2009 8:49:30 PM , Rating: 4
...on the contrary, most if not all of that is handled by the same control. Or maybe a couple of controls.

Working with modern modular programming makes a lot of that stuff pretty easy.

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