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Microsoft Pulls Office From Its Own Online Store

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the overtaken-by-the-deadline dept.

Microsoft 127

CWmike writes "Microsoft has pulled almost every version of Office from its own online store to comply with a court order requiring it to remove custom XML technology from its popular Word software that starts on Monday. As of mid-day, the only edition available from the Microsoft Store was Office Ultimate 2007, a $670 'full-version' suite. All other Windows editions, as well as Office 2008 for Mac, were accompanied by the message: 'This product is currently unavailable while we update versions on our site. We expect it to be available soon.' Microsoft confirmed that the disappearance of Office was related to the injunction that came out of a patent infringement case the company lost in 2009. 'We've taken steps to comply with the court's ruling and we're introducing the revised software into the US market," said Michael Croan, a senior marketing manager, in an e-mail. He also downplayed the move. 'This process will be imperceptible to the vast majority of customers, who will find both trial and purchase options readily available.'"

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127 comments

wheres the news (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734216)

I'm always up for a good bashing, but eh what? It was already decided in court that MS was violating the patent (which imo is stupid, btw). They were required to stop selling Word, and now they comply. Whats the news here? That MS complied to laws and judge orders?

Also, how is that "downplaying the move"? They probably worked on non-infringing Word version for long time already and are replacing it soon. In fact;

Microsoft has posted updates for both Word 2003 and Word 2007 to its download site and told customers in accompanying support documents that those updates are mandatory "only if you have been instructed to do so in a separate communication from Microsoft." The company has also committed to revamping Word 2008 for Mac and Word 2004 for Mac, even though those versions were not named in the injunction.

In the meantime, Microsoft also told potential customers that they can download the free beta of Office 2010, the next-generation suite slated for a June release.

Patent Compliance Tuesday (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734268)

From all system administrators, thank you Microsoft for the decision to coincide Patent Compliance Tuesday with Patch Tuesday [wikipedia.org].

Re:Patent Compliance Tuesday (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734328)

I'm impressed that Microsoft is finally taking the security of their Office suite seriously. We've been waiting for this patch for years.

Re:Patent Compliance Tuesday (-1, Troll)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734904)

We've been waiting for MS to submit to forced change to its product line coming from a patent troll? Dunno about you, but my breath was definitely not bated.

Re: here$ the new$ (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734404)

MS complied with the EU ruling, and note... immediately took full vengeance on: the USERS. $670 for an Office Cocktail to burn down your desktop. Smallchange, maybe to those driving a Veyron. I think it is finally time for those users (and their bosses) to "move on" to Open Office, even on the MS platform, and ultimately migrate to Linux desktop.

Re: here$ the new$ (0, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734456)

Did you also think that food stores pay off the stealing users from their own pockets, and don't increase prices to get it back from users?

Re: here$ the new$ (1, Flamebait)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734462)

That is wrong. They have the trial version availble while the other versions are updated and re-released.

What, surely you don't think they would offer a trial version just to try to lock you into to their products?

Re: here$ the new$ (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734740)

That is wrong. They have the trial version availble while the other versions are updated and re-released.

I'm guessing the trial version has no infringing features.

As for lock in via a trial version, is there seriously anyone left on the planet that does not know about OPENOFFICE.ORG ?

Re: here$ the new$ (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734798)

I wrote the above as a joke, but..

The type of people that would use the trial version of MS Office are probably not the type people that would have heard of openoffice (or even better AbiWord.)

Re: here$ the new$ (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734844)

I disagree. The kind of people who would use the trial version are the kind that don't have 600 bucks for the full package and no corporate backing. Those people are used to digging for bargains, and free is a good price.

AbiWord on the other hand is pretty lame compared to OpenOffic or StarOffice. I look at it every three or four years to see if it has improved, and it is a perennial disappointment.

Re: here$ the new$ (4, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734914)

Do you work in an IT related field? Because I do not. And I do not know anybody (at work) that has even heard of openoffice. In fact, I do not think it would even occur to most of those people that there might even exist another "office" solution.

I know when I tell people that I don't use MS Office they are shock and almost immeditely assume that I must not view any documents at home.

Brain, meet mouth (4, Interesting)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735408)

"Do you work in an IT related field? Because I do not. And I do not know anybody (at work) that has even heard of openoffice."

""I know when I tell people that I don't use MS Office they are shock and almost immeditely assume that I must not view any documents at home.

Hey. Here is a radical idea. Maybe instead of telling people at work that you don't use MS Office, you should tell them about Open Office. Then you would know lots of people who have heard about Open Office!

Contractual Silence (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736012)

I know from experience at least one training firm that had a contractual requirement in their dealings with Microsoft to not mention free software.

They are afraid of the news from great free software.

Personal pref is Open Office but Abiword is worth your attention too.

Re: here$ the new$ (2, Interesting)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736346)

Keep telling them otherwise. I know a dude who's loved him some Microsoft (as long as somebody would copy a disk for him) and has insulted my use of open source for the last decade. This month he loves OpenOffice.org and has been emailing me about how great it is like he's the one who discovered it. Looking into other open source programs and musing about whether Yellow Dog would revitalize his old Powerbook so I guess hell froze over. It can be amazing how slow people are to contemplate change
  but that doesn't mean it will _never_ click.
     

Re: here$ the new$ (2, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736968)

Do you work in an IT related field? Because I do not. And I do not know anybody (at work) that has even heard of openoffice. In fact, I do not think it would even occur to most of those people that there might even exist another "office" solution.

I think it would probably depend more on what you actually use an office package for in your work.

I, along with my colleagues, have either a .doc, .xls or .ppt file open all day to work on. Most of us are self-employed as well - the PP got it right that many of us are indeed looking for the cheapest way to get our work done (it's not the only thing we look for, but, yeah, it's important).

There are currently two packages that I can think of that everyone I work with knows about and would consider good enough to work with: Open office and Softmaker's line of products.

Re:wheres the news (1, Troll)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734452)

I'm always up for a good bashing,

WTF kind of bullshit is this?

You're the biggest apologist Microsoft has! If Ballmer himself stood up and admitted they were selling Win 7 backdoors to the Russian mafia, you'd have a first post touting it as a feature!

Re:wheres the news (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735206)

So anyone that makes good points that are a bit more level headed than the usual hate based anti-Microsoft drivel is an apologist?

The problem with Slashdot (which really is a problem that stems from the FOSS community) is that it often has a zealotry to it that does it more harm than good in the eyes of anyone looking for objective comments. You read some of the anti-MS stuff here and if you were an outsider it'd give you the impression the site is full of nutjobs.

Microsoft have done a lot of things wrong, but they've also done a lot of things right. The issue is that Apple is guilty of doing as much wrong as Microsoft nowadays, yet because they base MacOS X on BSD they're often given a free ride. Despite Job's insistence otherwise, Apple has been the biggest proponent of DRM over the last decade for example and ironically it's platforms like the iPhone are more closed than even Microsoft's.

The hate for Microsoft here is usually 50% understandable, 50% utterly irrational, yet when someone like sopssa comes along and manages to post with only the understandable portion of hate without the stupid irrationality he's attacked for it? It's a shame there aren't more posters like him here so that we can have discussions that make sense, rather than an orgy of mutual reassurance that it's okay to attack Microsoft in the most irrational ways possible which just reinforce the nonsensical trash that is so often repeated.

There are of course fanboys that lean in completely the other direction, Microsoft fanboys who take things too far the other way and refuse to recognise when Microsoft does wrong. These people deserve to be chastised too, but the day I see one with a +5 insightful mod is the day Slashdot is taken over by MS so they're less of a problem here. It's not like I even agree with sopssa on some of his pro-Microsoft views all the time, but for the most part, his posts make a lot more sense from an objective viewpoint that those caught up in their own rabid fanboyism.

Re:wheres the news (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735936)

I agree with your point. I have serious reservations about Microsoft in terms of how they do business. I don't necessarily hate them, I just disagree with how they do business. And when I make comments about them, I try to frame it about something they do, not who they are. I try to keep it level and neutral and just state the facts.

My feelings are the same for Apple. I won't buy Apple or Microsoft products until they start to embrace and support free standards that can be used by anybody. That's really what I'm looking for more than anything else. if a software company supports free and open standards, I'll listen and I will probably buy their products.

But I haven't seen that much from the major players. The only major player I've seen actively promoting open standards is Google and the Linux distributions.

Now this isn't to say that people shouldn't buy products from MS and Apple. They're free to do so in my mind. I would just prefer that they do so on the basis of a fully informed decision about the standards they promote when they use products by MS and Apple.

Re:wheres the news (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735972)

So anyone that makes good points that are a bit more level headed than the usual hate based anti-Microsoft drivel is an apologist?

Recognizing that Microsoft is a bad corporate citizen is not "hate based anti-Microsoft drivel".

They have a long history of using other people's innovation without permission, and this case is no exception. I4i is no patent troll, they produced, sold and still sell an XML editing tool. They have a very specific patent, specific enough that other implementations (like ODF) don't infringe.

Sopssa is an apologist. He participated in the original discussion, and has to be aware that this patent suit is fair and valid, and yet is still dismissive of i4i's efforts. That isn't reasonable behavour, it's fanboism or worse.

Re:wheres the news (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736534)

They have a long history of using other people's innovation without permission, and this case is no exception.

Heh.. If you think inventing something trivial to do with XML tags is "innovation" you have a diminished capacity of thought or creativity.. or something.

They have a very specific patent, specific enough that other implementations (like ODF) don't infringe.

This makes no sense. Just because ODF doesn't infringe, doesn't make the patent valid or specific. Looks like you haven't even read the patent. The language is extremely general and broad. Or maybe you just agree with everything a judge says? Ofcource, that might make you a racist too ;)

and has to be aware that this patent suit is fair and valid, and yet is still dismissive of i4i's efforts

What if he thinks it isn't fair and valid? Is he not allowed to have an opinion different from the Slashdot group-think?

Bravo ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736680)

They have a long history of using other people's innovation without permission, and this case is no exception.

This is funny. Open source has an even longer list of creating knockoffs of existing successful PROPRIETARY (and possibly patent-protected) products. I wonder if you can think of any... loonix? lunex? linux?

I'm pretty sure OpenOffice might infringe on some MS Office and related patents. I'm pretty sure KDevelop, Eclipse and others might possibly infringe on Visual Studio patents. I'm pretty sure WINE infringes on Windows platform and related patents and so on.

Ofcource if M$ decides to sue, I wonder which side tin-foil nuts like you will be on?

But hey, don't get objectivity or facts bother you. I enjoy reading uneducated angst filled comments from F/OSS zealots. Maybe I can get you a more comfortable chair so we can witness more of your gems..

Apple gets a free ride? Not likely. (2, Insightful)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736052)

Apple is guilty of doing as much wrong as Microsoft nowadays, yet because they base MacOS X on BSD they're often given a free ride.

You must be new here. Any Apple-related story draws 10x as many Apple-hating comments as it does Apple-friendly comments.

Re:Apple gets a free ride? Not likely. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736670)

It's certainly not that simple. Whilst I agree that's true in the odd Apple article, there are plenty also where it's not the case and where Apple gets defended, sometimes even illogically so. For example, I've seen companies like Apple and Valve defended over DRM in the past, by the very same people who attack DRM when it comes from the likes of Sony.

Perhaps more interestingly though is that I recommend you look through a few Apple related articles here without filtering out any comments based on their score. What's interesting is that even in articles where the majority of comments go against Apple there are often countless comments that are perfectly objective, valid and insightful but also put Apple in a not so positive light that get modded down.

Oh please. Not the same bullshit again. (2, Interesting)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736198)

"Microsoft have done a lot of things wrong"

Like breaking the law in pretty much all major localities around the planet.

What are you? A masochist?

If you hear a chorus of disapproval maybe, just maybe, there is a frigging reason of why people feel so aggravated.

Google and Apple now have quite a dominance in the markets that will matter in the future and people are far more cool about them because they are not complete and utter unethical bastards.

Do I need to clarify the point any further?

Re:Oh please. Not the same bullshit again. (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736610)

"Like breaking the law in pretty much all major localities around the planet."

You realise a lot of companies have too yes? Facebook has been guilty of breaking privacy laws across the world, Apple has been guilty of price fixing in the UK due to it's higher pricing of songs to the rest of the EU, Google has found itself guilty of breaching copyright across the world through it's books quest. But you single out only Microsoft's cases?

"If you hear a chorus of disapproval maybe, just maybe, there is a frigging reason of why people feel so aggravated."

This argument is stupid, by the same logic you could argue that Microsoft's dominance in many areas is because most people prefer them. The fact is, you can't infer anything about the validity of the problem from numbers when there's clearly other factors involved like bias in this case, or monopolistic practices in Microsoft's case.

"Google and Apple now have quite a dominance in the markets that will matter in the future and people are far more cool about them because they are not complete and utter unethical bastards."

Huh? Is this the same Apple that although improving, is still one of the worst offenders when it comes to pollution caused by manufacturing and disposal of it's products? The same Apple that uses child labour? The same Apple guilty of price fixing? The same Apple guilty of being one of the most prolific pushers of DRM over the last decade? The same Apple that simply blames the user when their iPhone explodes in their face? The same Apple that leverages a combination of iTunes, the iPhone and it's app store for anti-competitive practices?

What about Google? Is this the same Google that wants to farm all your data? The same Google whose CEO doesn't believe you need privacy unless you have something to hide? The same Google that would happily pander to Chinese censorship and so on?

Look, I'm a fan of some of Apple and Google's products as much as the next guy, but that doesn't mean I'm going to pretend they don't do much wrong as well, clearly they can be quite evil themselves, arguably just as much so as Microsoft. In reality Microsoft seem no less evil than other major players like Facebook either. In the grand scheme of things Microsoft couldn't even come close to many manufacturing firms, many mining firms and so forth. Really in terms of being evil, Microsoft as a company, are pretty much par for the course. The difference is, they're the main opponent of the open source movement and as this is largely an open source supporting community then that is why you see such a focus on them here, not because there is some reality in them being evil enough to stand out from the rest of the world.

Re:wheres the news (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734556)

Whats the news here? That MS complied to laws and judge orders?

If you're conforming to Slashdot's usual biases, then yes.

Re:wheres the news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734754)

LOL reality must be biased too, then.

Remember how they "complied" with the - stupid - EU required ballot screen.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10363306-75.html [cnet.com]

Remember how they basically discredited ISO with the ooxml "do this as word95" standard.
http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/01/how-to-hire-guillaume-portes.html [robweir.com]
http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Microsoft-Office-2007-is-incompatible-with-OOXML/0,130061733,339288332,00.htm [zdnet.com.au]

And remember MS own internal memos, halloween documents and all.

Yes, "MS complies with the law" is the news (5, Insightful)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734626)

Whats the news here? That MS complied to laws and judge orders?

Yes, that's exactly it.

And that's not meant to be a smartass comment about how often Microsoft does and doesn't do that.

All I'm trying to say is that this Microsoft/XML/Patent story is of interest to the slashdot crowd, and we would like to be informed about how the sequence of events unfold.

Getting confirmation that Microsoft complies with the law and court orders is an important event in this story---perhaps even the most crucial.

That's the reason it's on slashdot.

Re:Yes, "MS complies with the law" is the news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735864)

I'm sure MS is thinking of reciprocity. If they comply with someone else's patent, they'll expect all the GPL programmers to comply with theirs. I don't know if it's just me. But I never hear news about MS suing other types of developers for patent infringement. I just hear about GPL software violating MS patents in the news. Could that be selective prosecution?

sopssa is a faggot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735118)

Well known M$ corporate apologist loves to gobble Gates' cock and slurp up Ballmer's jizz. News at 11.

Re:wheres the news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737340)

Possibilities:

1) This is such an oh-so-boring piece of non-news that you felt the need to take time out of your day to make that comment.
2) You are a troll.

If you don't like an article, ignore it.

sopssa said it best (-1, Redundant)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734226)

but since it needs to be re-stated:

This is a nonstory.

Re:sopssa said it best (2, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734482)

You ackowledge your post is redunant. Good for you.

It did not need to be restated. If you wanted to simply voice your support to his thread, then you should have replied to his thread rather than starting a thread whose sole purpose was to agree with the previous thread.

Re:sopssa said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735694)

me too!

Perfect opportunity for Open Office to gain... (4, Funny)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734236)

Perfect opportunity for Open Office to gain some ground. You and I may not know the people, but there will be someone out there who needs to download Office during the week for an assignment or work task, and will be unable to buy their legitimate version online. So the person goes to google and types in "office suite" and what comes up first? OO.org

Bad comparison. (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734284)

Star Office is closer to MS Office than Open Office is. Open Office is almost like Wordpad with spreadsheets. I need my spell checker damnit.

Re:Bad comparison. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734398)

Joshdd, you say bad comparison, but you seem to be replying to someone who mentioned google search results.

Openoffice is obviously better known than this star office thing. Which might be more like MS's suite, but who cares? If some student does google for an alternative, they will probably go for OO.

And it's a lot better than wordpad with spreadsheets. I guess some geeks take this shit very personally.

Re:Bad comparison. (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734498)

The copy that Debian provides has a spell checker. (Is there a woosh here I am missing or does the windows version not come with one?)

Re:Bad comparison. (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734516)

Yeah! Well, Applixware runs like crap on every single operating system it happens to be compatible with, particularly Solaris. And its interface looks like a very poorly designed MS Access front end :-) (I have no idea what my point is)

Re:Bad comparison. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734574)

The pointy part is that most slashdotters would love to have someone access their front end at least once.

Re:Bad comparison. (2, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734752)

You need your reading glasses too, if you haven't found the spell checker in OpenOffice.org.

Re:Bad comparison. (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736740)

Funny I just went into OO.org and it has a button that says spell check. But it doesn't work. I just misspelled several words and it found no errors. Which is why I don't consider it to have a spell checker.

Re:Bad comparison. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736842)

Star Office is closer to MS Office than Open Office is. Open Office is almost like Wordpad with spreadsheets. I need my spell checker damnit.

You really don't have the slightest clue what you're talking about. OO and Star office are about 98% the same code. OO has a perfectly good FOSS spell checker instead of the non-open Star Office version. Star office comes with more fonts and clipart and stuff like that, and a bit of paid support. That's about it.

First joke (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734254)

I've had this problem for a long time:
$ bash microsoft
bash: microsoft: No such file or directory
$ bash office
bash: office: No such file or directory
$ bash word
bash: word: No such file or directory

The news I'm waiting for. (3, Interesting)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734288)

What I want to know is what will i4i do with its 300 million from Microsoft.
And will Microsoft pay-up?

Not if they can avoid it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734472)

even if it means spending more that the $200+M on lawyers
even if it means going to SCOTUS
even if it means getting a shell company in the Caymans to buy them out.
etc
etc
etc

Re:The news I'm waiting for. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737294)

"What I want to know is what will i4i do with its 300 million from Microsoft."

Retire I would imagine ;)

Haven't they pulled the offending code yet? (3, Funny)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734292)

You'd think that Microsoft could manage to remove the XML extensions that the judge didn't like by now. Perhaps the regression testing for Windows 98 on a 286 slowed them down?

Re:Haven't they pulled the offending code yet? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735432)

"You'd think that Microsoft could manage to remove the XML extensions that the judge didn't like by now. Perhaps the regression testing for Windows 98 on a 286 slowed them down?"

Yes. It slowed them down by exactly enough time to make sure they get press stating that the new version will be available for download in a few days. Funny how that just happened to work out that way for them, isn't it?

Inside job? (0)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734300)

Aren't they supposed to use XML to be compliant and open? And what if they can say: 'Hey, we tried, but this one bad small company threatend de poor liddle MicroSoft with a patent lawsuit and now we have to take XML out, sooo sad!
The truth is, MS wants it's formats to stay proprietary and I figure they'd welcome any reason that holds to keep it that way. I wouldn't be suprised if this XML-patent thing was staged.

My 2 cents.

Re:Inside job? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734322)

They have to pay that little poor bad company 270 million in damages.... So no- I don't think this is an inside job. Would it not have been way cheaper to just push their own standard? As they did... with xml...?

Re:Inside job? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734364)

Huh? Don't worry, 99.9% of the .x XML stuff is sticking around. It's only one particular, apparently rarely-used feature that is covered by this injunction.

Re:Inside job? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734372)

And don't believe me? The older, non-XML formats haven't been updated to include Office 2007 features. This is especially apparent in PowerPoint.

Re:Inside job? (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734368)

I highly doubt it, i4i (ironic sounding name IMO) has a very specific patent on a specific XML function, not XML in it's entirety. Which is why they haven't sued other office packages like OO.org.

It's probably a similar scenario to the Uniloc case [wikipedia.org]. i4i offers a licensing deal for their patent, Microsoft says bugger off, then implements it anyway.

Re:Inside job? (0, Troll)

bashmohandes (1194771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734486)

They didn't sue OO because simply Sun doesn't have any money left, and it is not worth it

Re:Inside job? (1)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734552)

i4i have stated that OO.org does not implement the functionality covered in the patent, so OO.org (and thus Star Office, and by impliccation ODF) is fine. The same will go for other ODF-based office suites like KOffice.

Re:Inside job? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734518)

It is most similar to the "spreadsheet as database table" patent in the sense that in both cases the patent covered something pretty obvious, about something which users were starting to need, something that was hanging in the air so to speak. In both cases the patent covered *any* thinkable solution to something users might want, that was easily implementable by any competent programmer, which is probably why Microsoft said bugger off in the first place. (The spreadsheet patent was also reality-denying by the way, since spreadsheets and database tables are mathematically equivalent.) And then a judge who has never written a single line of code in his entire life decides that Microsoft has to pay $270e6 to people who haven't contributed anything to society at all. I'm an OOo user and have little love for Microsoft, nor the crash party that is Word, but I know that Microsoft isn't the bad party in this case. Imagine getting $270e6 for doing nothing...

Re:Inside job? (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734896)

Nope. Microsoft's attempt to stop their own use of XML being open is patenting their XML document format (designed with extra patentability in mind...)

Re:Inside job? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735082)

XML doesn't magically make something compliant and open. Mostly it just makes it bloated. Well-documented formats unencumbered by patents are what makes something open, and that doesn't depend on the latest flavour-of-the-month serialization format.

MS can always torrent for some new copies to sell. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734312)

If Microsoft has run out of copies then they can try the torrent networks and use a keygen. Hey, I'm just trying to help out the big guy here.

Another harrasment to free software (0)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734314)

I am getting so sick of these companies misusing the hard work of others. Microsoft Office has been free for home-users since version 1, same goes for their OS, windows 1 to 7. All free to the average home user and then some business that never created a damn thing comes in, demands more cash than 99.9% of startups would make in total in 200 years (look it up... it's true :D ) and kills a great product while doing so. This is why open source and free software just doesn't work. The patentbitches wait silent for a couple of years and then they come... And they come hard. Man, I sure hope that MS will do the right thing, and "forget" to inform Thepiratebay that they need to stop distributing MS Office.

Re:Another harrasment to free software (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734604)

Ultimately the tricky problem is who do you actually sue with open source. Technically every person on the planet owns the code and is free to use the application that the code creates. So sue the planet, you can't really sue companies providing service and support, nor companies providing manuals, not even companies that supply you with a copy of the completed application that you technically already owned before you even approached the company.

I am trying to imagine the patent cops trying to enter every place of business and residence to ensure every infringing copy is removed and, that's world wide, even if for some insane reason they actually tried, you can;t bet it would end up having the exact opposite effect and drive up popularity.

As for M$ it's just another embarrassing management debacle, more funny than interesting but definately news worthy. Perhaps M$ can distribute copies of OpenOffice.org in the interim so that they don't leave their customers in the lurch, they are even entitled to label their version as MicroSoft OpenOffice as long as they adhere to licence requirements (oddly enough it would likely have positive marketing benefits for M$).

Re:Another harrasment to free software (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734702)

Ultimately the tricky problem is who do you actually sue with open source

Identify the infringing source. Then cvs annotate or equivalent, track down the author and sue them

Re:Another harrasment to free software (1)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734796)

You can sue anyone who uses the patented technology. So you can sue all major users for royalties for each infringement(use) of the patent. The author and distributors would be most endangered by having users of the software legally assault him for a plethora of liabilities related to their being sued, but can also be sued for IP infringement himself. Unless you are someone like Microsoft with well known deep pockets, you would most likely be forced to settle the suit as you'd have no way to handle the legal Apocalypse that would await you if the rights holders decided to unleash it. This is actually what Microsoft threatened to do with their pile of patents they alleged Linux infringed upon; go after the [major] users, and totally discredit and overwhelm the major distributors of the product.

Re:Another harrasment to free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734806)

harr harr free from home users since version one, thepiratebay as a MS distributor... good one harr harr

Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734320)

... they should also have to deactivate every (legal) copy that's currently out in the wild. After all, the software industry has been telling us for years that we don't really get to buy software, just rent it. So surely it can't be legal for Microsoft to continue to rent out software that violates someone else's patent!

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734340)

Hmmz, neh not disable it. Just make sure it stops working after an hour, gives you irritating popups and general makes your life suck. Oh wait, they implemented that before this lawsuit!

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734390)

We're not renting the software, we are granted a license to use it.

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735852)

I wonder if the patent holder will start suing end users, SCO style.

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (5, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734434)

... they should also have to deactivate every (legal) copy that's currently out in the wild.

A large part of the damage award is to cover those copies. That's why they don't have to be disabled. They pay damages to cover the copies already out there, and have to stop selling new copies that infringe.

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735076)

They pay damages to cover the copies already out there, and have to stop selling new copies that infringe.

It's still weird, though.

There is a period until the infringement can be fixed. These infringing new copies could be included in the settlement, which is only a temporary situation. Instead they actually pull Office from their online store, which I think is strange. There is more going on.

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (2, Informative)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736942)

Would you want to do business with someone who just sued you? They are using this to encourage people to test drive the 2010 beta, and have no reason to throw any more money at i4i.

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (1)

HyperQuantum (1032422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735374)

... they should also have to deactivate every (legal) copy that's currently out in the wild.

A large part of the damage award is to cover those copies. That's why they don't have to be disabled. They pay damages to cover the copies already out there, and have to stop selling new copies that infringe.

What's funny is that most of the users of those 'infringing copies' probably don't even know about or use the infringing functionality.

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734720)

Well maybe they have to do that but what would that do to business? Practically every business in the western world would grind to a halt if suddenly denied Microsoft Office, even the business of managing patents.

Re:Pulling it from the store isn't enough ... (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734998)

I would have that that the $300 million covered this?

How convenient... (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734416)

How convenient that the $670 edition should be the one that remains available.

I can only think of three explanations for this:

1. MS are quite happy to put some of the revenue from Office to paying damages, provided the revenue is from the most expensive version.
2. They're holding back on making the cheaper versions compliant intentionally to see if only having the expensive version available dramatically affects sales.
3. They're not as well organised as I'd like to believe - packaging every different edition of Office is a major undertaking which requires a lot of work.

Re:How convenient... (1)

clodney (778910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736726)

How convenient that the $670 edition should be the one that remains available.

I can only think of three explanations for this:

1. MS are quite happy to put some of the revenue from Office to paying damages, provided the revenue is from the most expensive version.
2. They're holding back on making the cheaper versions compliant intentionally to see if only having the expensive version available dramatically affects sales.
3. They're not as well organised as I'd like to believe - packaging every different edition of Office is a major undertaking which requires a lot of work.

How about:
4. Each SKU has to be built and tested by the same group, and each SKU takes a certain amount of time. MS decided to concentrate on some combination of the biggest volume/biggest revenue SKUs and leave the lesser used ones to the end.

Re:How convenient... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736914)

How about:
4. Each SKU has to be built and tested by the same group, and each SKU takes a certain amount of time. MS decided to concentrate on some combination of the biggest volume/biggest revenue SKUs and leave the lesser used ones to the end.

I thought that, but seeing as each SKU is a superset of the one beneath it it seems odd that the packaging and testing isn't to a greater or lesser extent automated. It's not like Microsoft couldn't manage the resources to do that.

Having said that, seeing how anti-automation everything Microsoft has historically churned out is (powershell notwithstanding), perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised.

I am sympathetic to Microsoft on this issue (1, Troll)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734440)

I am no MS fan boy but I think that this action by the patent parasites i4i is completely wrong. We all know that the US patent system needs to be reformed, especially in the area of software patents -- this is just another example of how it is broken.

office memories (-1, Offtopic)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734510)

Ah, I remember when I used office last. I was trying to make a template for a pamphlet and needed the text to overflow from one page to another to another. I found that it could only flow a suspicious number of times(8 or 16 or 32 or something) even after patching to the latest version. At that point, realising that i would always have to struggle round limitations in applications, I decided to struggle round the ones in free software rather than pay for the privilege like a chump.

Same price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734676)

from online store and regular store is still same price?
Nhile [nhile.net]

Patent evil ideas (1)

SoopahCell (1386029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734898)

It appears there's a very twisted opportunity here: patent as many evil ideas as you can then wait for companies to pursue those strategies by patent trolling them. How about starting by patenting violations of net neutrality like "a system and method for filtering internet content to prevent civil unrest." Or protecting an emerging tech like SVG: "System and method to extend svg-format files with any non-svg content."

To create the perfect image, shape fashion. (0, Troll)

COBB1986 (1719232) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735596)

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In Bill Gate's own words (1, Informative)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735770)

AN OPEN LETTER TO HOBBYISTS
By William Henry Gates III

February 3, 1976

An Open Letter to Hobbyists

To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself. Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted. Will quality software be written for the hobby market?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these "users" never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don't do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn't make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren't they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write to me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.

Bill Gates

General Partner, Micro-Soft

Information please (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736126)

Just because it hits Microsoft, I am not going to overboard and root for that gold digger who claims to have patented some XML tags or whatever. XML is by definition extensible. How can anyone patent a tag?

Let us say this patent claim can potentially hurt all ODF vendors, but right now the patent troll is going after Microsoft. Can Microsoft pay some huge award and thus validate the patent claim and use it as a weapon against other competitors. Remember how the Automobile Manufacturers' Association in 1890 willingly paid invalid patent claims to raise the barrier of entry for new players?

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