Microsoft takes down Office for sale from its own US site in lieu of ongoing patent litigation with i4i, only the top whack version still for sale or a beta of Office 2010
The following message has greeted those trying to buy the current version of Microsoft Office on the company's own site in America. "This product is currently unavailable while we update versions on our site. We expect it to be available soon." At the time of writing the product is still available on the Australian, UK and German stores, so, for now, we can consider this a bit of a local dispute. No Office for those word-processor-less Americans, what to do, what to do?
Microsoft has already lost an appeal regarding this case, so it seems increasingly likely that it will either have to yank out the offending code, which i4i claims Microsoft is using illegally in its software. This is something Microsoft says would take around five months to do, or the company could push on with the early launch of Office 2010. The issue which affects Word 2003 and 2007 and any products containing those applications involves the use of XML custom code. Microsoft has a further appeal (and possibly more to go) and things could get nastier as the products are still available in stores. Will i4i
, a Canadian content solutions developer, demand those are removed too?
This does not seem to be just another software patent troll case which we read about all too often. The sum of US$300 million has been bandied about as the settlement fee, but it will cost Microsoft a lot more in sales and development costs to fix this issue, and who knows how many more are waiting in the wings? Other beneficiaries have to be Google Docs
and the other free solutions that can use this downtime to promote their wares.