Microsoft: Word ban would cause “irreparable harm”
Microsoft has warned that “major public disruption” would be caused if a court ruling forcing it to redesign Word is allowed to stand.
Last week, a court found that Microsoft had wilfully infringed a patent relating to the creation of custom XML documents, and ordered it to stop selling Word in its current form in the US.
The software giant has filed an emergency motion against the injunction, claiming that: “Even if Microsoft ultimately succeeds on appeal, it will never be able to recoup the funds expended in redesigning and redistributing Word, the sales lost during the period when Word and Office are barred from the market, and the diminished goodwill from Microsoft’s many retail and industrial customers.”
Customers will be stranded without an alternative set of software
It also asked the court to consider the impact on retail partners by arguing that Best Buy, HP and Dell would “face the imminent possibility of a massive disruption in their sales”.
The company also risked the wrath of Open Office and Google Docs advocates by suggesting that taking Word off the market would leave customers “stranded without an alternative set of software” during the period required to re-engineer the word processing suite.
While the filing sounds dire, the company claimed it was all part of the process: “These filings are not unusual in patent cases,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. “We believe the evidence clearly demonstrates that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid.”
Indeed, analysts claim Microsoft is simply following the patent suit script: “Appeals and other legal wrangling are intended to eliminate any short term impact,” says Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group.
“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.