Microsoft News-stop selling Word, Zune HD news, Office on Nokia and other MS news

Well, the past week was a big one for Microsoft.  Zune HD details were made public, Windows Server 2008 RTM was released to MSDN and TechNet, Windows RC 7 no longer available, Office is coming to Symbian phones from Nokia and Microsoft ordered to stop selling Word 2007.

  • The bomb shell dropped on Microsoft was that a federal court in Texas granted a small company called i4i a permanent injunction against Microsoft to stop selling any versions of Word 2003 and Word 2007 that contains ‘custom XML’.  This company, i4i, claims to have ‘invented’ custom XML and, in fact, received a patent for the technique.  Custom XML is the ability to embed user defined tags in the resulting XML.  Which is something, I thought, was already part of the XML spec.  This is yet another reason why our patent system is broken.  The fact that this company was able to patent something as obvious as this is just appalling.  And, don’t be mistaken, this is not just a Microsoft problem:  other products COULD very well be affected by this ruling.  If this patent is allowed to continue, then other lawsuits from tiny i4i are likely to follow.  They also got a $200 million judgment.  Microsoft is appealing the decision. 
  • Zune HD details were also disclosed.  The device will be available in 16 and 32 gigabyte versions.  It will be available on September 15 and will cost $219 and $290.  The device will include Wi-Fi, web browsing, an apps store, HD video output and a selection of colors.  The new software features that do not rely on new hardware will also be made available to previous versions of the device in a firmware update, continuing Microsoft’s tradition of keeping the older devices somewhat up to date.  Even with the problems I have had, and despite that I said I was done with Zune, I will be getting an HD, not just for the sexy device, but also because they have made an effort to keep my old brown brick Zune somewhat up to date.  That is a lot more than you can say for a certain fruity company-or most other companies for that matter.
  • In addition to Windows 7 RTM being available on TechNet and MSDN, Microsoft made Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM available on TechNet and MSDN.  Joe Public can buy the server software on October 22, 2009.
  • Office is coming to Symbian phones from Nokia next year.  Nokia had previously licensed Exchange, but they will, starting sometime next year, be offering Office on the devices.  The Nokia E-series will support: Office Communicator Mobile, Office Mobile which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, SharePoint Server and system center for device management.  This is huge for Microsoft.  Although Nokia is not well known in the United States, it is the number one mobile phone maker on the planet.  Nokia commands %45 of the worldwide market.  Compare that to the tiny fraction for Windows Mobile.  Microsoft HAD to do this to stay relevant in the hand held arena.  One cannot help, though, to feel a bit sorry for the Windows Mobile people within Microsoft. First, Microsoft licensed Exchange to Windows Mobile arch nemesis, Apple and iPhone, they turn around and hand Nokia the keys to the cash cow.  That’s gotta sting. 
  • Windows 7 RC will no longer be available after next week, so get that download now if you do not already have it.  August 20 is the last day it will be available.  Better yet, just wait until October 20 and buy the real thing.  Remember, the RC will cease functioning in June of 2010, but you’ll get the warnings, every three hours, about two months before that.

Other news from Redmond:  IE 6 support will continue, IE 8 is the most secure browser (and why not, after all of the crap they have had to fix over the last ten years) and Windows Mobile lost another %2.7 of the market.

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