HP, Dell Urge Texas Judge to Delay MS Word Injunction

Dennis Faas's picture

PC makers Dell and Hewlett-Packard, some of the world's largest manufacturers of computers and their accessories, have announced their support for Microsoft's bid to overturn a recent injunction preventing the Redmond-based technology giant from selling its popular MS Word software in its current form.

Back on August 12, a Texas federal judge ordered Microsoft to stop the resale of Word because of XML patent conflicts with a small, Canadian company. The order accompanied a gargantuan series of fines totaling $290 million, but the real financial threat for Microsoft -- and its major customers, like HP and Dell -- could be in the near and distant future, if the order is to go through.

HP, Dell Ask for Delays to Injunction

Earlier this week, PC maker Dell requested the judge overseeing Texas' Eastern District Court consider the widespread implications of the injunction in favor of Toronto's i4i. Dell asked that, the injunction be delayed 120 days at the very least (and preferably 4 months) for companies like itself to readjust for new market demands.

The brief, which was submitted by Dell on August 24th, has since been joined by Hewlett-Packard (HP). HP, also one of the industry's heavyweights, was in agreement with Dell in stating: "The District Court's injunction of Microsoft Word will have an impact far beyond Microsoft ... Microsoft Word is ubiquitous among word processing software and is included on [redacted] computers sold by Dell." (Source: pcmag.com)

"Hostile Attitude"

Of course, i4i, which has vowed to remain vigilant in its case against Microsoft, would say that this "ubiquitous" position is part of the problem.

Chairman of i4i Loudon Owen was hardly impressed with Microsoft's own appeal brief. "It captures the hostile attitude of Microsoft toward inventors who dare to enforce patents against them. It is also blatantly derogatory about the Court system," Owen said. (Source: cnet.com)

As for Dell and HP, they're worried about their own abilities to readjust the products they offer -- a process that could take significant time. "If Microsoft is required to ship a revised version of Word in Dell's computers, a change would need to be made to Dell's images," Dell noted. "Making such a change would require extensive time and resource consuming [tests]."

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