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MSFT Releases New Versions of Word and Office

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments

Microsoft has released new version of Microsoft Word and Office to comply with a patent ruling handed down in December.

Last year, Canadian firm i4i successfully sued Microsoft for patent infringement. The company was awarded nearly $300 million in damages and Microsoft was ordered to amend its Word and Office software so that it no longer infringed on i4i's patent. The patent covers software that removes the need for individual, manually embedded command codes to control text formatting in electronic documents. Aside from paying the hefty damages, Microsoft was ordered not to sell or import any Microsoft products that had the capability to open .XML, .DOCX or .DOCM files containing custom XML, to the United States.

Despite appealing the case, in December Microsoft was ordered to change Word and Office or pull the software from shelves by January 11. On Friday Microsoft filed yet another appeal against the ruling. In a petition, Microsoft asks judges to reconsider the way in which the damages figure of $290 million was reached.

"The petition details significant conflicts we believe the December 22 decision creates with established precedents governing trial procedure and the determination of damages, and we are concerned that the decision weakens judges' authority to apply appropriate safeguards in future patent trials," said Kevin Kutz, director of public affairs for Microsoft, in a statement.

i4i says it expected Microsoft to file such a petition but added that it looks forward to building its business now that Microsoft is required to stop selling the offending products.

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  • 14 Hide
    captaincharisma , January 11, 2010 3:33 PM
    man you can't create anything these days and sell it because you would be too afraid you would get sued. there will no longer be any radical innovation in the world.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    mfarrukh , January 11, 2010 3:12 PM
    Looks cool

    Let the price not be much higher
  • -1 Hide
    Jerky_san , January 11, 2010 3:18 PM
    "i4i says it expected Microsoft to file such a petition but added that it looks forward to building its business now that Microsoft is required to stop selling the offending products."
  • 2 Hide
    rooket , January 11, 2010 3:26 PM
    seems like i4i wants to impede progress. shameful company imho. however i kinda dislike having to troubleshoot older versions of word and excel trying to open that crappy XML format which is very unnecessary.
  • 14 Hide
    captaincharisma , January 11, 2010 3:33 PM
    man you can't create anything these days and sell it because you would be too afraid you would get sued. there will no longer be any radical innovation in the world.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , January 11, 2010 4:24 PM
    The issuance of patents in the USA is problematic to say the least. The Internet is a particularly sensitive issue on many fronts. Perhaps it is time for the government to overhaul the system.
  • 6 Hide
    jnjkele , January 11, 2010 4:31 PM
    US patent and copyright system is broken - simple as that. Any system that allows a company to generate a steady revenue stream by patent trolling is just messed up. Neither patents nor copyrights are used today in the manner in which they were originally introduced, and the system is widely abused to everyone's detriment. It needs fixing.
  • 1 Hide
    zak_mckraken , January 11, 2010 4:40 PM
    JohnnyLuckyThe issuance of patents in the USA is problematic to say the least. The Internet is a particularly sensitive issue on many fronts. Perhaps it is time for the government to overhaul the system.

    It was time 10 years ago and still nothing has changed. Sometimes, I wonder if the USPTO don't make a percentage off these lawsuits. Maybe that's why they're slow to realize something is wrong.
  • 0 Hide
    TemjinGold , January 11, 2010 4:41 PM
    "Aside from paying the hefty damages, Microsoft was ordered not to sell or import any Microsoft products that had the capability to open .XML, .DOCX or .DOCM files containing custom XML, to the United States."

    Wait, does that mean all the docx stuff I saved will be useless? Should I be converting them all back to doc or something?
  • -5 Hide
    TemjinGold , January 11, 2010 4:41 PM
    "Aside from paying the hefty damages, Microsoft was ordered not to sell or import any Microsoft products that had the capability to open .XML, .DOCX or .DOCM files containing custom XML, to the United States."

    Wait, does that mean all the docx stuff I saved will be useless? Should I be converting them all back to doc or something?
  • 3 Hide
    duckmanx88 , January 11, 2010 4:51 PM
    TemjinGoldWait, does that mean all the docx stuff I saved will be useless? Should I be converting them all back to doc or something?


    two words dude. Open Office
  • 2 Hide
    spongebob , January 11, 2010 5:26 PM
    Sorry to say, Open Office is unreliable for dealing with Word files. I used it to print a large legal document - a couple of pages weren't formatted correctly. When I printed them in MSWord I saw it wasn't just a format problem, Open Office completely skipped some content.

    If you're not dealing with important Word files, Open Office is fine, otherwise you're stuck with Word, I'm affraid.
  • 6 Hide
    maestintaolius , January 11, 2010 5:32 PM
    Good, I hate the docx format with a fiery vengeance. Every time I forget to save in a doc format and send out a file as a docx I'll get a reply email in half-hour from some sales guy complaining he can't open it on a smart phone or on his pc at home. If this also means that the Word prompting will go away reminding me that my .doc file "may not have all features enabled properly in this format" (paraphrasing, I can't remember exactly what is says) will go away, I'm all for this.
  • 1 Hide
    bison88 , January 11, 2010 6:26 PM
    God it never amazes me how much these guys can throw around millions like its a stack of playing cards. I think there is more to the story and questions haven't been answered last time I followed this like why they waited so many years before taking legal action against microsoft.
  • 0 Hide
    pepperman , January 11, 2010 7:08 PM
    ^ The damages wouldn't have been as high if they called MSFT out right away; they were milking it for all it was worth before turning it into a suit. +1 to greed for i4i
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 11, 2010 8:31 PM
    duckmanx88two words dude. Open Office

    try telling that to every business that uses MS Office, all banking, insurance, support, travel, etc etc etc. Home users can do whatever they want but MS Office is embedded so deeply into business that switching out just is NOT an option.
  • 1 Hide
    maestintaolius , January 11, 2010 8:52 PM
    back_by_demandtry telling that to every business that uses MS Office, all banking, insurance, support, travel, etc etc etc. Home users can do whatever they want but MS Office is embedded so deeply into business that switching out just is NOT an option.


    Or is expressly forbidden by the IT dept. I would gladly use Open Office at my work, if it was allowed.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 11, 2010 9:43 PM
    Like we need yet another version of word and excel!
    It's not that we don't use only upto 3% of the program anyways!
  • 0 Hide
    jaybus , January 11, 2010 11:33 PM
    Usually its MS getting awarded a patent for a multi-button mouse or something that has already been around 20+ years. XML was made by design to be "customizable" for f#$&s sake.That i4i was awarded a patent for this in the first place is beyond ludicrous. That a court upheld the patent is pure bs.

    I wonder if I can get a patent for "using a custom combination of letters of the Latin alphabet in a specific order to add a new word to the English language"? A very similar idea to i4i's patent, but for English rather than XML. Then I could sue any print or electronic publisher that ever uses a word not already in one of the major published English dictionaries. But darn, I've just released my idea to the public domain, haven't I?
  • 1 Hide
    EChiasson , January 12, 2010 2:41 PM
    Quick and easy solution: Instead of paying i4i $290 Million, just buy the company itself for measly 300k that its worth. Fire its management team. Force its workers to work for half the pay and run the business into the ground. Why? Because microsoft makes enough money where it can do that without so much as a flinch! I'm suprised the EU didnt jump on this as another reason to take Microsoft to court for even more money and rediculus reasons....
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 12, 2010 3:44 PM
    EChiassonQuick and easy solution: Instead of paying i4i $290 Million, just buy the company itself for measly 300k that its worth. Fire its management team. Force its workers to work for half the pay and run the business into the ground. Why? Because microsoft makes enough money where it can do that without so much as a flinch! I'm suprised the EU didnt jump on this as another reason to take Microsoft to court for even more money and rediculus reasons....

    Because even an oranisation as stupid and illogical as the EU has no power over patent infringement cases between the US and Canada. Give it another year or so and maybe, just maybe. They tested the waters by interfering with the Sun/Oracle merger til the FTC told them to keep their noses out of American affairs.
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