AfterDawn: Tech news

Microsoft blocked from selling Word

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 13 Aug 2009 0:51 User comments (33)

Microsoft blocked from selling Word In a giant decision today, a federal district court judge has ruled against Microsoft, and told the software company it must stop selling the extremely popular Word word processing software in the United States.
The victor company, i4i, has only 30 employees but claims Microsoft violated a patent pertaining to Extensible Markup Language (XML). The judge agreed.

Microsoft has 60 days to appeal, or cease selling Word, a key component of the Office bundle. The company was also fined $290 million USD. Microsoft says Office accounts for over $3 billion USD in sales per year.

"It's not a question of fear or pride or anything else,"
added Loudon Owen, i4i chairman, via USA Today. "We're very respectful of Microsoft, but when you're in the right you have to persevere."

Microsoft will obviously appeal.

"We are disappointed by the court's ruling," says Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid."

i4i has the patent for "customized XML," which has been the default format for Word files since the 2007 edition. If the ruling stands, Microsoft would not be allowed to sell the 2003 or 2007 editions.

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33 user comments

113.8.2009 0:54
warriorp
Inactive

damn thats messed up for real.

213.8.2009 1:00
varnull
Inactive

Quality .. just quality. For way too long M$ have walked over the little people .. This is just one company holding a valid patent they missed buying out and closing down. I guess they didn't think a company with 30 employees would find a good lawyer huh?

Now then.. patent infringement.. lets see a punitive damages settlement to the same scale as the mafiaa and co like to do to little people.. how about 150,000 per infringement.. or basically $150,000 for every copy of word or office sold... hahahahahaha

313.8.2009 1:44

Interesting news. I don't care if MS stops selling word, and honestly if they do, I hope OpenDocument format can finally start getting a lot more usage. But the thing is Microsoft is dirty and will do anything for money. This is a serious blow for them but they will find a way to sell Word legally again IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. Losing the ability to sell software they have sold since the 80's? Not on Microsoft's watch.

However, this is another stupid lawsuit over software patents. When is the USPTO (and several other countries' patent offices) going to realise they made a serious mistake in allowing them?

And who is i4i? Some patent troll company obviously. 'Customised XML' patent? That's ridiculous. Every single format utilising XML (including XHTML, OpenDocument, and so many other DOCTYPEs) is 'customised XML'. They might as well try suing the Internet.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Aug 2009 @ 1:45

413.8.2009 3:08

i find it interesting that it only effects word 2003 and up. interesting as there hasn't been any change to words mechanics since word 2000 except for eye candy.

513.8.2009 3:18

Originally posted by DXR88:
i find it interesting that it only effects word 2003 and up. interesting as there hasn't been any change to words mechanics since word 2000 except for eye candy.
Actualy, word changed a little in 2003, and changed a lot in 2007.

Microsoft will fix this quickly, they are not going to launch office 14 without word.

613.8.2009 4:08

$290 million ? they'll find that down the back of bill' settee


Originally posted by tatsh:
snip
And who is i4i? Some patent troll company obviously. 'Customised XML' patent? That's ridiculous. Every single format utilising XML (including XHTML, OpenDocument, and so many other DOCTYPEs) is 'customised XML'. They might as well try suing the Internet.
"Michel Vulpe, founder of i4i and inventor of the patent". the company actually sells document management and publishing soloutions

they are not the sort of organisation that buys companies with lots of patents and then sits on them 'til somebody breaches the patents
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Aug 2009 @ 4:12

713.8.2009 5:36

Thats ridiculous!!! Word is a cornerstone of Microsoft office, it just isnt the same without it

813.8.2009 7:02

People use M$ Office?

Lrn2OpenOffice People!

913.8.2009 7:03

Basically MS will try to appeal first as stated in this article; should the appeal fail in their favor, then they will simply make the next word with out XML format or they will spend money to get the rights to use it. The thing is, they are only told to stop selling the current standard for Word from '03-07 versions, so obviously they have room to revision, even the old ones if they wish to. Hell, you'd think an Office Update would suffice.

Still its good to see that MS gets walked on to from time to time.

1013.8.2009 7:10

I enjoy this one!

M$ thought they could bulldose the company instead of paying the royalities or altering their technology.

1113.8.2009 8:06

Good. Microsoft steals everyones idea and gets away with it because of loopholes in patents or no patents. They are a bully with all their lawyers and money. Microsoft wipes out all they smaller software developers by imbeding their own version of that software in their OS. If the appeal fails MS will just buy out the patent. But at least they will have to finally pay for it!

1213.8.2009 8:09

MS should just come to a settlement i4i and close the issue.

When you're making billions on a program you can afford to toss a couple of million to get them off your back.

1313.8.2009 8:50

Maybe this will teach Microsoft to not change their formats for no apparent reason. Honestly, why should people have to upgrade a "word processor"?

1413.8.2009 9:40

Originally posted by xtwister:
Good. Microsoft steals everyones idea and gets away with it because of loopholes in patents or no patents. They are a bully with all their lawyers and money. Microsoft wipes out all they smaller software developers by imbeding their own version of that software in their OS. If the appeal fails MS will just buy out the patent. But at least they will have to finally pay for it!
Okay, seriously, this is the MS hater mentality. I know Mac users love their Pages program, but just about any other Word processing app is crap.

This is just another patent troll waiting in the wings. Honestly, Word 2003 violated the XML patent? How long did they know this?

1513.8.2009 9:47

I did a quick search of XLM and hit 20,000,000,000 hits many of the editors. Realy XLM code can be writen in any ansi editor. I could write some code here.

1613.8.2009 10:36

Originally posted by Jeff101:
I did a quick search of XLM and hit 20,000,000,000 hits many of the editors. Realy XLM code can be writen in any ansi editor. I could write some code here.
You mean XML?

1713.8.2009 11:02

I believe M$ should get fined $22,500 for every copy of Word that was sold, it is copy infringement after all...

1813.8.2009 11:04

Quote:
Originally posted by xtwister:
Good. Microsoft steals everyones idea and gets away with it because of loopholes in patents or no patents. They are a bully with all their lawyers and money. Microsoft wipes out all they smaller software developers by imbeding their own version of that software in their OS. If the appeal fails MS will just buy out the patent. But at least they will have to finally pay for it!
Okay, seriously, this is the MS hater mentality. I know Mac users love their Pages program, but just about any other Word processing app is crap.

This is just another patent troll waiting in the wings. Honestly, Word 2003 violated the XML patent? How long did they know this?
I dont hate Microsoft. I am just stating when you "borrow" someone else's hard work and put it in your software, you are stealing their work. Microsoft is notorious for these ethics. This time they didnt get away with it. Patents have a reason, to protect the developer/creator.

1913.8.2009 11:08

SProdigy, Mac users like anything Apple puts out. They understand their small customer base. I hate M$ as well because I see what they do but they don't screw their users as much as Apple. Apple users LOVE getting screwed.

2013.8.2009 11:11
varnull
Inactive

If this had been the other way round you can see the scenario.. little business goes bust and people lose their jobs. It's too much to dream in this monopolistic world (and with all it's apologists) that something similar couls ever happen to the big evil that is M$ .. but their day is coming.. mark my words.

Already we are seeing the worlds governments who have switched from M$ lockin starting to enforce the anti-trust rulings.. Once they aren't forced to brown nose they can show their teeth. NO government should ever force it's citizens to use proprietary software to communicate with them.. shame in the UK that isn't the case yet.

2113.8.2009 11:44

Quote:
Originally posted by DXR88:
i find it interesting that it only effects word 2003 and up. interesting as there hasn't been any change to words mechanics since word 2000 except for eye candy.
Actualy, word changed a little in 2003, and changed a lot in 2007.

Microsoft will fix this quickly, they are not going to launch office 14 without word.
Hasn't changed? They added the ability to publish blogs and publish onto a Doc Management Server (great for me). They also totally redid their spreadsheet function, so you can essentially make Excel files within your Word file.

For school, I constantly use the new citation tool.

There are a bunch more that I don't use often, like the revision pane that lets you track any previous changes. This may save some people big time, but I have yet to use it. Just kind of nice to know it's there I guess..

2213.8.2009 12:45

Why doesn't Microsoft just buy them

2313.8.2009 13:16
varnull
Inactive

Originally posted by bam431:
Why doesn't Microsoft just buy them
another person who thinks a global M$ software monopoly is a good thing.. big brother is watching you.. trouble is.. we are legion XD

Why didn't the judge order all existing instances of this infringing software being removed also within 60 days? Theres a puzzle.. just because people have bought something which the seller didn't have rights to doesn't apparently mean they have the right to keep using it. A patch update should be released immediately removing word from all existing M$ office installations... or it's a nonsense

(amazon vs Orwell and kinders.. aren't they chocolate eggs with crappy choke your kids bits of plastic inside?)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Aug 2009 @ 13:17

2413.8.2009 13:16

Originally posted by Mez:
SProdigy, Mac users like anything Apple puts out. They understand their small customer base. I hate M$ as well because I see what they do but they don't screw their users as much as Apple. Apple users LOVE getting screwed.
Right on the head Mez they are a cult when it comes to Apple products, which is another company that uses similar tactics too M$ in fact at one time they were in bed together.

Google is trying hard to knock M$ off their block and with M$ so high on themselves Google may just pull it off.

Office 2007 is XML riddled so it wouldn’t or shouldn’t just be Word that is kept from being sold. Of course not knowing how many patients there are that apply to XML and what i4i’s patient is, it could well be only Word affected.

The bottom line is like so many others have mention M$ will either pay off, buy out, or win their appeal and get their way in the long run as they always seem to do.

2513.8.2009 13:17

bam431, they didn't buy them because the prefer to screw them. See they did not think they would lose. They probably won the last 99 of these.

varnull, I agree their day is comming. The 'suits' have been running M$ for about 10 years and they are running into the ground. As big as it is it is a very slow process. However, they are declining on most fronts.

2613.8.2009 13:24
varnull
Inactive

It's coming.. grass roots here.. every 10 fista upgrades these days I get 3 requests for something other than xp .. Depending on the system it's debian or mint .. odd lappy goes off with n00buntu core because of the wireless support and I'm downright lazy.. that's a 150% increase in 12 months.

Just upgraded my first win7 system today.. went off running sabayon like a star.. unlike the "from the shop" win7 that had no working sound and seemed to be full of drm and bad drivers... everything working a treat... quad core with 4 gigs of ram.. cakky nvidia graphics.. don't get much for £700 in the UK when you take win7 into account.. still not as fast as my dual 64 lenny tho but I couldn't be bothered trying to get it all working when sab64 just went on and worked.. Guess they will be impressed when they see all the freeeeeeee and legal software it comes with.. open office is a winner.. with lots of other cool stuff and some jaw dropping games.

I'm starting to take real work away from the 3 M$ affiliated shops in town now.. roll on win7 and drm.. more work and cash in my pocket XD

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Aug 2009 @ 13:31

2713.8.2009 14:37

Try as I might, I simply can't bring myself to care. It'll get settles. Iv'e been running a torrent version of 2003 for ages anyway. IT'S A WORD PROCESSOR. I mean really? Really?

2813.8.2009 15:21

First off, all a patent means is....you got to aquire rights for something before someone else did. Who knows how many individuals or companies had a custom XLM style of programming, but failed to aquire a patent for it before this I4I company? And how many companies and programmers today use a custom XLM set for profitable use? The answer....over 20,000,000,000! So why is it that this no-name backwater company is only going after M$? Money! Plain and simple. And believe me, I don't hate M$, and you certainly won't see me cheering for them either. I just hate to see people taking advantage of a blatently obvious money grab, and getting away with it. It's all to similar to the copyright infringment everyday people are victims of over copying a cd they bought multiple times. The big movie companies were found to be doing the same thing with dvd movies, yet who got hurt? Not the big guys...just us little guys. And believe me, allowing this type of suit to ensue will only encourage others to do the same, which will lead to product price increases, and major changes and loads of space consuming patches. Again, it's the little guy who will get hurt. I guess if the ruling stands, everyone who uses the Word 2003 thru 2007 app is guilty of patent infringment?

2913.8.2009 15:24

This thing kind of bothers me.

First off how general is the "customized xml" category cover?

And then the question, does anyone who uses customized xml infringe on this patent? If so this patent is bogus. I can understand patenting a paticular version of customized xml but not ALL.

I think I might patent "customized software" and sue everyone.

3013.8.2009 15:57

Originally posted by varnull:
Originally posted by bam431:
Why doesn't Microsoft just buy them
another person who thinks a global M$ software monopoly is a good thing.. big brother is watching you.. trouble is.. we are legion XD

Why didn't the judge order all existing instances of this infringing software being removed also within 60 days? Theres a puzzle.. just because people have bought something which the seller didn't have rights to doesn't apparently mean they have the right to keep using it. A patch update should be released immediately removing word from all existing M$ office installations... or it's a nonsense

(amazon vs Orwell and kinders.. aren't they chocolate eggs with crappy choke your kids bits of plastic inside?)

Sorry i Forgot that people Don't recognize sarcasm over the internet next time I'll remember to use my sarcasm tags <sarcasm>Why doesn't Microsoft just buy them</sarcasm>

3113.8.2009 17:44

that is customized xml, im reporting you! lol

3214.8.2009 23:29

I'm gona pattent "jfn", then I am gona search through programs to find that string and sue their creators!



3320.8.2009 11:24

I don't understand the alleged infringement.

I use XML very often for custom data and configuration files. Each time one tends to invent a new XML schema to fit the business domain of interest, a simple example being the <sarcasm>xxx</sarcasm> mentioned above. I actually can't think what NON-customised XML refers to - it's always customised!

Surely the patent doesn't cover ALL use of XML?

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