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By | Gavin Clarke 19th August 2009 00:51

Microsoft warns of 'irreparable harm' on court's Word injunction

Major public disruption, too!

Microsoft's warned it'll suffer "irreparable harm" and that "major public disruption" will result if it's forced to redesign Word to comply with a US court ruling.

The company claimed the court's injunction will mean Office is kept out the market for months as it redesigns Word and the suite to remove an offending XML patent.

A judge for the US District Court of Eastern Texas last week ordered Microsoft to stop shipments of Word in 60 days time after it was found to have violated an XML patent held by i4i.

Microsoft has said in a court filing to stay the injunction: "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."

Microsoft's always fought to resist outside pressure that it make engineering changes to products. On integration of Windows and Internet Explorer during the US government's antitrust case, for example, Microsoft initially argued it would be impossible to separate the two.

This time, Microsoft has argued that it's the impact on the business of partners - not just Microsoft - that must be taken into account.

The company's lawyers named Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard and Dell as companies that - with Microsoft - "face the imminent possibility of a massive disruption in their sales" that would be caused by the redesign and attempt to push the new version of Office through the entire distribution network by October 10 - when the injunction would kick in.

Customers, meanwhile, could be "stranded without an alternative set of software" during the re-development work that Microsoft said would cause a "major public disruption". This pain would prove a "complete waste of time" should Microsoft ultimately win on appeal.

You can read the full filing here (pdf). ®

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