We definitely had to take a second look at our calendar, but it's not
April 1st. In fact, it's nowhere near it. Microsoft--the giant that you
would think could never be taken down--has just has its holiday thrown
for a loop. Or, at least Microsoft
's team of lawyers. If you'll
remember back, Microsoft had heard from a judge
that its immensely
popular Word program could no longer be sold due to the software
infringing on patents
of one i4i. Of course, Microsoft appealed and did
its best to delay things, but it looks as if today's verdict could mean
i4i had a patent on some XML inner-workings, which Word evidently uses
freely. Naturally, i4i isn't too pleased with this. Imagine all of the
copies of Word sold, and how much loot would come from having a small
royalty attached to each one. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to
understand why i4i is fighting so hard to get what it is apparently
due. Just before Christmas, Microsoft has now lost its appeal, as the
$290 million jury verdict was upheld for the infringing of patents. The
court also confirmed an injunction that would prevent the world's
largest software maker from selling a few versions of Word which
contain the i4i code, though this would only start on January 11, 2010.
It should be noted that older versions of the software are not affected
or included in this, and as you may expect, the team in Redmond is
actively working to remove the i4i feature(s) from Word 2007 and Office
2007 packages. Meanwhile, the company is also considering another
appeal, which could "include a request for a rehearing by a full panel
of judges at the appeals court, or a request for a review by the U.S.
Supreme Court." In case you're wondering, Word 2010 and Office 2010
don't feature this software, and while Microsoft calls it a
"little-used feature," even something "little" can obviously cost you
quite a lot.
Goliath, meet David.