DESPITE HAVING SAID
that a recent court ruling would not disrupt its sales of Office, Microsoft pulled copies of the software from its own website yesterday.
The Vole had said it would release a version of Office that did not contain the custom XML features that a court has ruled it nicked from Canadian softwarehouse i4i and therefore would have to stop selling.
However it is clear that Microsoft didn't make the new version of Office ready in time to sell at its own store. According to Computerworld
, yesterday the Vole had to pull almost every version of Office from its online store to comply with the court order.
The only edition available from the Microsoft Store was Office Ultimate 2007, a $670 "full-version" suite. Attempts to access all other Windows editions, as well as Office 2008 for Mac, were met with the message,
"This product is currently unavailable while we update versions on our site. We expect it to be available soon."
Microsoft has admitted that the disappearance of Office was related to the permanent injunction that was granted to i4i in winning its custom XML patent infringement lawsuit.
A spokesvole said that Office would be back in the store soon, although previously Microsoft had said a revised version of the software would be ready by January 11.
"We expect to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007, with this feature removed, available for US sale and distribution by the injunction date," it said.
We could say it is not clear why Microsoft has encountered such difficulty, or we could just observe that the company screwed up.
The Vole has posted updates for Word 2003 and Word 2007 to its download site. All it had to do was merge the patches and post the non-infringing versions, and it had weeks to do that, therefore we can only guess that either it is massively incompetent or it chose to inconvenience its customers intentionally.
Meanwhile Microsoft has asked the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to grant a review
of its appeal before the full court.