If a federal judge says that Microsoft can't sell Microsoft Word anymore, will Microsoft have to stop selling it? Probably not, it seems. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Davis issued an injunction--to take effect in 60 days--prohibiting Microsoft from selling any version of Word that can open and customize XML files (for example, files that end in the extension .docx). That includes the last two releases of Word--Word 2003 and Word 2007. Microsoft, said Davis, is infringing on the patent of a company called i4i, whom he awarded $290 million in damages.
But Microsoft can stall the injunction with appeals (they say they will appeal), and earlier this month they were awarded a patent for customizing XML with Word, which could allow them to strip the old XML processing from Word and add this new one. So it sounds like the ruling won't be such a big deal, which in a way is kind of a bummer, as the last time Microsoft faced a huge court case, Bill Gates took the stand, and while his exchanges with super-lawyer David Boies were amazing, they'd likely pale in comparison to the atom-splitting intensity Steve Ballmer would bring.