The injunction to prevent Microsoft Word being sold in the US is now in force, meaning the company has to release a new version of the offending software if it wants to continue selling it.
The injunction against Microsoft was obtained by the Canadian firm i4i, which claimed that the manner in which Microsoft implemented custom XML functionality in its Office packages infringed on its own patents. Indeed, the case was convincing enough that Microsoft, despite filing an appeal, has been ordered to cease sales of the software until the custom XML feature is removed.
Now, word comes from Computerworld that (for the US at least) Microsoft’s online shop now shows all of its different flavours of Office 2007 and Office 2008 as “Not Available,” which we’re assured is an intermediary step, with a new version of Office coming that doesn’t have the offending XML functionality. Indeed, that’s effectively what the statement from Microsoft has to say for the company,
“We’ve taken steps to comply with the court’s ruling, and we’re introducing the revised software into the market… This process will be imperceptible to the vast majority of customers, who will find both trial and purchase options readily available.”
Well, we’d imagine the process being “imperceptible” probably doesn’t take into account the apparent gap in the Microsoft online shop while things are being moved from the old version over to the new version of Office, but still, this is a case in which Microsoft’s relatively swift action to update and replace a product, despite having filed for another appeal, is fairly commendable.
Until then though, it seems that new versions of Microsoft’s Office 2007 and Office 2008 will be shipping without the XML functionality.