A permanent injunction was entered based on Microsoft’s patent infringement that prohibits the sale of Word products for certain custom XML codes! Also US District Judge Leonard Davis (Eastern District of Texas in Tyler) ordered Microsoft to pay $40 million for willful infringement and $37 million in prejudgment interest. This injunction and award of willful damages follows a May, 2009 jury verdict that ordered Microsoft to pay i4i $200 million for infringing patent 5,787,449 that deals with metacodes. Needless to say Microsoft will appeal and/or settle. However, in the meantime this will send shockwaves in the IT community.

Word Free Online v. Google Apps

Days before the Judge Davis’ order Microsoft announced that Word would be available free online in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model in direct competition with Google’s Apps. This makes for interesting news since Word is the mainstream word processor in the world and has become the de facto standard. So coupled with the permanent injunction precluding Microsoft from selling Word with certain XML features, this is an intriguing development.

SaaS Word Processing?

Microsoft Office, Google Apps, and OpenOffice all provide pretty much the same Word type documents, operate a great deal alike, so do users need to have their word processor on their computers? Laptops? PDAs? Or just available on the Internet in a SaaS? Time will tell, but most users like the ability to process Word documents on their computer without relying on Internet access, regardless of which word processing software they use. SaaS and Cloud systems have in common that their customer data resides on the hosted systems, not in the confines behind firewalls and on users’ computers.

This is how Google’s offers its Apps:

“Outsourcing to Google lets you run your business instead of running routine IT systems.
* Google Apps is 1/3 the total cost of competing solutions.
* No special hardware or software is required, and Google runs the servers so you can focus on your business.
* Get better reliability than on-premises solutions, with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.**
* Data can remain on Google’s infrastructure, rather than on unsecured devices.”

Everyone on earth can see how much power Google has developed and Google Apps is a great success. However since Google is not in the top 20 most trusted companies it can certainly make one wonder where is the Internet going?

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