December 23, 2009
Posted: 10:23 AM ET
A federal appeals court has ordered Microsoft to strip custom XML support from Word 2007 by January 11, effectively banning the sale of Microsoft Word and Office (which includes the Word software) in their current form.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/23/ms.office.lawsuit.jpg caption="Microsoft may be forced to stop selling Word 2007." height="164"] The injunction stems from a patent infringement lawsuit filed by the small Canadian firm i4i in 2007. The suit claims i4i owns the custom XML editing technology that is included in Microsoft Word.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas agreed, slapping Microsoft with a $290 million fine and ordering it to remove custom XML capabilities or stop selling the infringing software.
Microsoft appealed, but the lower court's ruling was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals. And now the software giant has precious little time to re-release Word and Office 2007 before being barred from selling the profitable office software.
In a statement issued yesterday, Microsoft's Director of Public Affairs Kevin Kutz expressed confidence in the company's ability to meet the injunction date.
While speaking with Stuart J. Johnston at Datamation Microsoft analyst Rob Enderle admits the ruling "shows the increasing hostility of this market," before adding, "For Microsoft, I think it's going to be an increasingly expensive way to do business, with a lot more patent vetting."
Regardless of whether new versions of Office 2007 will appear in time to meet demand, this significant legal decision will only further the cutthroat approach technology companies apply to protect their patents.
July 13, 2009
Posted: 10:40 AM ET
Sometimes you come back from the weekend already feeling behind. Here are a few of the latest tech stories to help you get back up to speed:
Microsoft Office 2010 gets the buzz award of the day. The new version of the mammoth computer applicaiton suite, which will be released to a select group today, is expected to challenge Web-based applications, like Google Docs, which have been gaining popularity. From TechCrunch:
More on what Office 2010 means in the big scheme of things from CNET:
Mashable has a good post on location-based phone services. A new survey says the number of people using location-based services will double to 5.7 million this year. The rise in GPS-enabled smartphones - those that know where you are and act like mini-computers - accounts for much of the increase.
Some cool ways to use these services, from the blog:
For the parents among us, BusinessWeek has an interesting story on the federal government's slashing of a program to put more technology in schools. Check out the story for the details of the impact, but the core of the story is in this factoid:
Finally, for those looking to purchase some of the many new gadgets out there - especially the iPhone 3G S - take note of this Ars Technica post, which says bricks instead of phones are turning up in some retail boxes. But don't blame the Apple store, the site says:
Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.