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Microsoft Office 2007 retailers dodge patent injunction

Redmond misses update deadline

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Microsoft might have pulled Office 2007 from its online shop but retailers are still selling the suite.

Retailers can sell Office 2007 if the copies they purchased were bought before a US-court-mandated deadline of January 11, 2010, Microsoft told The Reg on Tuesday. Upgrade and full copies of Office 2007 were available from CDW and Amazon.

The clarification came as it seemed Microsoft had missed its own deadline for removing custom XML from Office 2007 that landed it in hot water with a court and patent holder i4i.

Office 2007 package shots

A tale of two Offices: not all editions of the updated Office 2007 are yet available

Gray Nolton, Office developer product management team leader, blogged last month that copies of Word 2007, an integral part of the Office 2007 suite, would no longer read the custom XML mark up contained within .DOCX, .DOCM or .XML files after January 10.

The US District Court of Eastern Texas had given Microsoft until January 11 to remove the offending code after it had found Microsoft violated i4i's patents for custom XML. The ruling, upheld on appeal, said Microsoft could not sell copies of Word 2007 after January 11 that include the custom XML code.

According to reports, Microsoft pulled most versions of Office 2007 from its online store to comply with the court's ruling. But by the afternoon of January 12, it was clear not all versions of Office 2007 had been updated, meaning Microsoft had missed its January-10 date.

Normally, Microsoft offers more than 34 versions of Word-related products through its site, but many were missing, including full and upgrade versions of Office 2007 Standard and the upgrade version of Office 2007 Ultimate. The full edition of Ultimate was available for purchase and download.

The unavailable editions of Microsoft Office 2007 came with a message from Microsoft that read: "This product is currently unavailable while we update versions on our site. We expect it to be available soon."

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Reg: "We are working to restore the availability of all products on all download sites." ®

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