Microsoft Loses Word Appeal


Microsoft has lost its case to appeal the recent injunction that would see its word processor, Microsoft Word, either remove functionality or force the company to stop selling the application.

Word comes via TheRegister of the loss, which puts Microsoft in a particularly awkward position when it comes to its Office suite of applications. Microsoft must now drop XML functionality from Word, courts having ruled twice now that it infringed on patents owned by a software company called i4i. Still, it seems that Microsoft isn’t in quite as dreadful a position as many had imagined.

Indeed, many have pointed out that since the original verdict was passed, the folks at Microsoft have been working hard to make sure that the company is well able to comply with the court’s ruling in time for the January deadline set by the court.

Still, this ruling will sting a little, given that Microsoft must now provide versions of both Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2003 that don’t boast the infringing XML functionality. While that might be a headache under normal circumstances, it’s hardly ideal when you take into consideration the fact that Microsoft is also currently working to push out Office 2010 as soon as it can (with the open beta apparently proceeding well).

That said, it seems that Microsoft might not be willing to give up the fight just yet. The official word from Microsoft’s Director of public affairs, Kevin Kutz, when he was speaking to the Register was that, “… 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 centiorari from the US Supreme Court.”

Never let it be said that Microsoft won’t do everything in its power to avoid dropping functionality, at least.

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