Court bans sale of Word, orders $290m fine after Microsoft found guilty of patent infringement

Run Windows on Mac OS X with no reboot!“A federal appeals court ordered Microsoft Corp. to stop selling its Word program in January and pay a Canadian software company $290 million for violating a patent, upholding the judgment of a lower court,” Jessica Mintz.

“But people looking to buy Word or Microsoft’s Office package in the U.S. won’t have to go without the software. Microsoft said Tuesday it expects that new versions of the product, with the computer code in question removed, will be ready for sale when the injunction begins on Jan. 11,” Mintz reports.

“Toronto-based i4i Inc. sued Microsoft in 2007, saying it owned the technology behind a tool in the popular word processing program. The technology in question gives Word users an improved way to edit XML, or code that tells the program how to interpret and display a document’s contents,” Mintz reports. “A Texas jury found that Microsoft Word willfully infringed on the patent.”

Full article here.

Do you really need Microsoft’s Word? Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’09 trial – featuring Pages – a try and find out for yourself.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tom R.” for the heads up.]

28 Comments

  1. Other news sources on this story have noted that this i4i patent doesn’t cover Mac Office 2008, nor does it cover any other word processing programs such as iWork, OpenOffice, etc. Apparently, it’s very specific to just the Windows version of Office.

    I’m not a fan of software patents, so I can’t really cheer for i4i here. Nevertheless, I can at least chuckle at the trouble Microsoft is experiencing as a result of this.

  2. $290 Mil for F’ing over yet another partner/small business
    $500 Mil to Verizon, so Verizon can F over their customers.
    Millons lost on the Zune.
    Millons lost on the XBox
    Millons lost on WinMob being a joke
    Millions lost on doing search badly
    etc…

    Seriously M$ is like the ant and the grasshopper fable.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ant_and_the_Grasshopper

    And I am darned happy to see it. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  3. I know everyone touts iWork as an alternative to Office, I really wish it was. It just isn’t there yet. What Apple should do is develop something like an IWork Professional to blow the doors off of anything MS comes up with – including VBA support. Unfortunately until the business world opens their eyes (if they do), better hope that Office for Mac is still around for years to come.

    It would have been nice if MS didn’t have this “loophole” and they had to stop selling Word altogether. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  4. I need to get me one of those $290 mil patents.

    I agree that Pages isn’t Word’s equivalent yet, but it does much better than Word at desktop publishing/design work. Getting closer, but still needs some features to truly challenge Word. Apple’s also going to have to get the Word translator feature down so that Word documents can be opened without items like auto numbering turning every line to a “1”.

  5. Whatever does or doesn’t work as an alternative to Office, Word is a miserable excuse for a word processing program. Clunky and hard to use are just the beginning of Word’s faults. One can only imagine how good Pages would be if it had been one of Apple’s flagship products for the past 25 years.

  6. Word was ok in about 97. Featurism has laden it with so much crap it can barely function. Pages does not suffer by comparison with Word in the least. There are a few minor annoyances with pages, with regard to drawing in tables and such, but otherwise it’s a superior product to word, particularly given the price. Even open office offers a good word processor. More so since both pages and it can save documents in PDF, unlike word.

  7. Wow, Microsoft has really lost their touch. Time was no one was better at stealing IP than them. They seem to have forgotten the necessary first step of forming an “alliance” with the Toronto company first.

    ——RM

  8. Speaking of Microsoft stealing code (again):

    Microsoft’s Top 10 Excuses for Stealing Plurk’s Code

    1. We were going to bring the code right back, we just wanted to drive it around the block a few times.

    2. No one else seemed to be using it, so WTF?

    3. There was this really hot coder chick we wanted to impress, and this was the only way we could think of doing it.

    4. It looked just like our code, it was dark, and we picked up theirs by accident.

    5. It’s called Plurk. Hello? LUZRS!

    6. All the other cool microblogs use Javascript and we’re stuck with this C++ sh!t leftover from MSN 3.0 .

    7. Plurk is located in friggin’ Canada — it’s not like they’re from an actual country.*

    8. OMFG will U pls just leave us ALONE? God we h8 U.

    9. Google and Yahoo steal other people’s code all the time but we’re the only ones who ever get in trouble for it.

    10. Steve Ballmer is our illegitimate daddy — how the f**k else do you expect us to act?

    http://www.esarcasm.com/8934/microsofts-top-10-excuses-for-stealing-plurks-code/

    *kidding, Canada, kidding (my disclaimer)

  9. I use Star Office by Sun Microsystems, It’s a variant of Open Office. It takes over a minute to open but it’s what I use at work. Why does Apple want to compete with Star Office?

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