Microsoft Has A Patch To Keep Word On The Shelves

After losing in court last week to Canadian company i4i, Microsoft was faced with two choices. Stop selling Word or fix it do it didn’t infringe on a patent that was owned by i4i. It seems that they went with fixing it. A patch is available on Microsoft’s OEM Partner Center Website, under the heading – “2007 Microsoft Office Supplement Release (October 2009)”. Here’s what the release notes say:

“After this patch is installed, Word will no longer read the Custom XML elements contained within DOCX, DOCM, or XML files. These files will continue to open, but any Custom XML elements will be removed. The ability to handle custom XML markup is typically used in association with automated server based processing of Word documents. Custom XML is not typically used by most end users of Word.”

The release notes also say that this patch is required for all US customers. You’ll note that this was available in October. So Microsoft must have figured that it was going to lose this court case and got this ready for their OEMs. This means that Microsoft can roll an end user version of this patch out at any time. Perhaps on the next “Patch Tuesday?”

This in theory should put an end to this circus. Although Microsoft did say it may consider its “legal options.” So stay tuned for more.

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