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By 23 December 2009 | Categories: news

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In what appears to be epic news Microsoft has been banned from selling current versions of Word in the US from January 2010.

The software giant lost an appeal in a US federal court and must stop selling versions of Word which include code from Canadian company, i4i. Microsoft has also been slapped with a multimillion dollar fine for infringing upon the company’s copyright. 

The Canadian company filed a suit against Microsoft in March 2007 for illegally using some of its code in Word. i4i won its case against Microsoft in May this year (with an injunction on sales of Word being brought against Microsoft in August) a ruling which Microsoft subsequently appealed. 

The failure of the appeal isn’t as epic as it first appears to be. Copies of Word and Office sold before 11 January 2010 will not be affected by the verdict and Microsoft is simply removing the code in question from future versions of Word. 

“With respect to Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007, we have been preparing for this possibility since the District Court issued its injunction in August 2009 and have put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature from these products,” said Microsoft’s director of public affairs, Kevin Kutz. 

So beyond a hefty fine Microsoft should be unaffected. The company has also pointed out that the beta versions of Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010, which can already be downloaded, don’t include the technology contained in the ruling.

Microsoft is not letting the matter rest however as they, “are also considering [their] legal options, which could include a request for a rehearing by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals... [or before] the U.S. Supreme Court,” Kutz said.

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