Feeds

Lawsuit forces users to update Microsoft Office

Patent infringement dispute

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Users of Microsoft’s Office and Access packages have been told they will have to install updates as a result of a patent infringement dispute between Microsoft and a Guatemalan inventor that has cost the software firm almost $9 million in damages.

Analysts warn that many businesses will be hit by the requirement.

The case, which Microsoft lost in June last year, concerned a software application invented by Carlos Amado, which linked Microsoft’s Excel program and Access database through a single spreadsheet. The inventor had sued for $500 million.

Last week, according to reports, Microsoft began informing clients they would have to install Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack (SP) 2 for any future deployments of Office Professional Edition 2003 and Office Access 2003. They would also have to install the Microsoft Office XP SP3 Patch for all future deployments of Office XP Professional and Access 2002.

Microsoft also requested that its clients update all current installations of Office Professional Edition 2003 and Office Access 2003 with Office 2003 SP2, and Office XP Professional and Access 2002 with the Office XP SP3 Patch.

In an advisory issued last week, Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Alexa Bona warned that while few firms were likely to be in the process of deploying Access 2002 or 2003, refreshing or re-imaging PCs – which takes place frequently within firms – could be construed as a new installation.

According to analyst firm AssetMetrix Research Labs, around 22 per cent of installs will be affected by the need to make changes. The firm had carried out a study of around 600,000 PCs running various versions of Office.

This presents firms with a problem because there is a risk, according to Gartner, that if firms do not make the changes when they are technically obliged to, they will no longer be covered by Microsoft’s guarantee against patent infringement liability.

Gartner therefore advises that firms:

  • Check all relevant applications will work with the new code.
  • Use a version of the software without Access for those users who have no need for Access database functions.
  • Be aware that to simply install the patches without testing may result in malfunctioning applications, although it will avoid the legal risk.
  • See if Microsoft will provide free or cheap consultation to help.
  • Ask if Microsoft will issue a patch for SP1, which would be easier to test and install than a whole new Service Pack. Many firms are still running the older version of the software.
  • Speak to a lawyer if unable to comply.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

More from The Register

next story
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?