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Texas Judge Orders Microsoft to Stop Selling Word

Leonard Davis, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, is putting himself in the headlines by issuing a permanent injunction against Microsoft, prohibiting the company from selling "Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files." That, as all geeks know, includes both Office 2007 and the upcoming Office 2010.

The ruling is in reaction to a complaint (PDF) filed by i4i, a company that created an add-in for Word allowing users to edit XML files. XML is a language, like HTML, designed for formatting documents, and is used as the basis for files in Microsoft Office, Apple's iWork, and online technologies like RSS. The plaintiff claims that by adding certain native XML-handling features to Word, Microsoft violated a patent i4i filed in 1998.

Davis's ruling (PDF) is quite severe. It prohibits the sale, import, testing, demonstration, and marketing of any version of Word with the feature. It even bars Microsoft from offering support to any XML-handling version already in a customer's possession. And just to add injury to insult, he ordered the Redmond, California Washington-based company to pay $290 million in damages.

The injunction is set to go into effect in 60 days, but Microsoft plans to appeal the decision. Admittedly, we haven't dug into the code for Word or the i4i add-in, but unless i4i can prove Microsoft simply copy-and-pasted its product into Word, we don't expect this injunction to stand up. [From: Seattle Post Intelligencer via Engadget]

Tags: i4i, lawsuit, microsoft, microsoft office, microsoft word, MicrosoftOffice, MicrosoftWord, top, word, xml



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