Microsoft to eliminate Word 2007 code

While Microsoft likes to project confidence that it will always win lawsuits against it, the software giant often likes to backstop itself just in case — and it apparently did so in the i4i case.

Microsoft lost its appeal of a patent infringement lawsuit that it originally lost in a lower court last spring.

While the software titan was awaiting the outcome of its appeal, however, back in October, it quietly released a "required" update for PC makers who bundle Office 2007 on new machines that removes the "custom XML" features that were at the center of the suit.

Tuesday’s ruling came from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which granted the plaintiff — tiny Canadian firm i4i — a permanent injunction blocking Microsoft from selling any version of Office that contains the infringing features on or after January 11, 2010. Those include Word 2003 and Word 2007 — although Word 2003 is not currently sold.

I4i sued Microsoft for infringement regarding Office 2007’s use of technology for creating and editing custom XML (eXtended Markup Language) code — a feature primarily used by enterprise customers for "automated server based processing of Word documents," a company statement online said.

One odd thing however, is that, following the appeals court ruling, Microsoft sent out a tweet, and an RSS item, pointing out the availability of the required October OEM update.

Since the update was already required for any OEM that wants to bundle Office 2007 on new PCs, and does not apply to other Office resellers, it seems like overkill to point out the availability of a fix that’s already been available for two months


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