Microsoft can't sell Word, says judge

I am sure this ruling will be overruled at the end of the day. Besides, if I am not mistaken (read about it elsewhere) MS has earned/will earn the right to continue selling Office till the final appeal’s verdict. I don’t expect things to change in any way.

At least it seems like it’s not only the bad Europeans that impose fines to MS :slight_smile:

The judge probably used WordPerfect. It’s a well known fact that people who work on the legal arena use it all the time.

Before saying anything more, I must say that I hate software patents and it all should be stopped.

Not mentioned on the article is the fact that, apparently, the suing company approached MS, several years ago, trying to sell them on the idea of incorporating this type of thing onto their file formats. MS said no, not interested. But, lo and behold, several years afterwards, that refused technology turns up on their new file formats. Typical MS behaviour, stealing ideas from others…

It looks quite clearly that MS will have to settle this or stop using custom XML altogether. The reason being that the court also found that MS infringed on the patent on a willful way. Which means that they knew they were infringing it. The appeals process might delay the inevitable ending but remember that appeals courts can’t overturn findings of facts. They can only send it back if they find any errors of law. And ask the lower court to correct those bits. Since the facts (willful infringement) have been established, it’s therefore very doubtful that MS will have other alternative other than settle this out. And it might cost them a LOT more than the millions they have already been ordered to pay.

Correction: they can’t settle this out, since it’s already been tried. What I meant was that MS will have to license the technology. And, having a favourable verdict on their pockets, i4i can demand quite a high royalty payment.

The alternative, for MS, will be to remove custom XML from their file formats. What would be the sensible thing to do, since there are people who say that, adding custom XML to XML files, it’s a moronic thing to do: XML is a structured standard. Adding custom XML inside it means it becomes a mess.

By the way, I think the article is wrong when it says that custom XML is something related with corporations. No, it’s something which resides on some of the more recent MS file formats. So, anyone saving on those formats, e.g. DOCX, the native Word 2007 file format, will be using custom XML.

I end up saving most of my Word docs as .doc, not .docx, anyway, because most of the people who read them only have Office 2003. Anybody who wants to write a lot of XML in any form, would use PTC’s Arbortext Editor, not MS Word.

@ferd:

  1. You don’t need to have Office 2007 in order to open/save in 2007’s native format. MS offers a converter pack for that. You install it and you can open and save from within 2003.

  2. I think you’re misunderstanding things. When you use Office 2007 you are not, knowingly, saving things in XML. You just save in Office 2007’s native format, be it Word (docx), Excel (xlsx), Powerpoint (pptx), etc, and the files are saved in XML. And custom XML is applied to those files, at least Word. That’s it.

If you are saying that you want to write things in XML, in a specific way, tailored to your needs, of course you can choose whatever tool you want. But that’s not the point, I think. When we save things, say in Word 2007, we are not thinking about XML, we are just saving our letters, documents, etc. That they are saved, internally, in XML, is of no concern to the normal user.

@johnzap:

  1. The “most people” to whom I refer are people to whom I send Word documents or for whom I post them on Sharepoint sites, etc. for purposes of doing my job at work. These people are not administrator on their PC and usually have little or no control over installing software, even MS “converter packs”.

  2. I understand what you are saying here. Most people don’t even look at the save dialog which would tell them what the file extension of their Word document will be after they save it, let alone understand what that means. I think that using XML in such a “half-assed” way as MS Word does is an incomplete and/or misuse of XML. XML should be used for entire document editing and formatting with FOSI or XSL-FO, or it should be used for transferring data from one database to another, or it should not be used at all.

But I digress, this was not the original subject of this article.

  1. In that case they should ask their IT people to do it for them. Come to think of it, the latter should be taking care of it already. At the company I work, it’s been a long time that that “converter pack” is available to whoever requests it.

[QUOTE=johnzap;2422771]1. In that case they should ask their IT people to do it for them.[/QUOTE] A good IT already would have implemented a group policy that all Office products will only save in the '95 format for ever.

[QUOTE=ferd;2421888]I end up saving most of my Word docs as .doc, not .docx, anyway, because most of the people who read them only have Office 2003. Anybody who wants to write a lot of XML in any form, would use PTC’s Arbortext Editor, not MS Word.[/QUOTE]
Why?PTC’s Arbortext seems difficult to use.