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Microsoft: Losing Word?
How tiny Canadian firm i4i could force Microsoft Word off U.S. shelves through a Texas court
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alk about a “David and Goliath victory,” said Matt Hartley and Barry Critchley in Canada’s National Post. “Tiny Canadian company” i4i Inc. has taken software giant Microsoft down a notch, winning $230 million in damages in a U.S. patent-infringement case and, more painfully, getting a permanent injunction against Microsoft selling Word in the U.S. The loss of its “iconic” word processor would cost Microsoft billions a year.

“We’re not smart enough” to understand all the details of U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis’ ruling, said Ashby Jones in The Wall Street Journal, but the “long and short” of the ruling is that Microsoft has 60 days to either pull Word 2003 and Word 2007 from the shelves, or tweak the software so it doesn’t rely on i4i’s XML architecture.

The long and short of it is that Microsoft won’t let Word leave shelves “even for a day,” said Ina Fried in CNET News. With two months to work, Microsoft will either get an appellate court to stay the injunction, reach a settlement with i4i, or bypass i4i’s “custom XML” through a technical workaround.

Still, while the loss of .DOCX, .DOCM, and .XML files “is bound to make Microsoft pretty angry,” said Calvin Robinson in Sporkings, it would be a huge boon to the Free Software Foundation and other advocates of “open” document formats, which let users open and save files regardless of software or operating system.

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