Feeds

Lawsuit forces users to update Microsoft Office

Patent infringement dispute

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.