Judge bans sales of Microsoft Word in US

Microsoft has been ordered to stop selling Microsoft Word in the US, after finding itself on the wrong end of patent infringement suit.

Judge bans sales of Microsoft Word in US

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas sided with technology company i4i, which alleged that Microsoft had wilfully infringed a patent relating to the creation of custom XML documents.

The software giant has been ordered to stop selling Microsoft Word – the cornerstone of its Office suite – in its current form within 60 days.

There’s also a fair amount of cash involved. Microsoft must pay $40 million for the initial infringement, $37 million in prejudgment interest, including an additional $21,102 per day until a final judgement is reached in the case. The court also ordered Microsoft to pay $144,060 per day until the date of final judgement for post-verdict damages.

Microsoft won’t risk Word, it is a pillar product, and has plenty of cash to either litigate or license

We’re still awaiting Microsoft’s comments on the verdict, though reports suggest it is planning an appeal. However, analysts suggests the move is unlikely to have any major impact on the software maker.

“Appeals and other legal wrangling will likely eliminate any short term impact and long term they can simply remove the feature from future versions of Windows,” says Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group. “The vast majority of Word users probably don’t even know what this feature is.”

However, Enderle suggests it could prove bad news for other office suites: “It is certainly possible that either Google Docs or Open Office could be hit next by them. i4i don’t want people to use anything but its product for this and if it gets a lot of money from Microsoft it’s likely to use it to go after anyone else it thinks is infringing,” adds Enderle.

“Microsoft won’t risk Word, it is a pillar product, and has plenty of cash to either litigate or license (and may end up doing a bit more of the former to drive down the cost of the latter),” he finishes.

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