Microsoft recently lost a patent infringement case in the United States with the court's ruling in favor of software development company tiny i4i. Many websites and blogs proclaimed after the court's ruling that Microsoft would have to stop selling Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office in the beginning of January. Experts on the other hand knew that Microsoft was prepared to react quickly if they would lose the case in court.
Microsoft's reaction is a Word patch that is being delivered to Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office installations in the United States. The patch has been made available to Microsoft partners and original equipment manufacturers since October 2009 as a Microsoft Office Supplement Release. It is assumed that Microsoft will add the patch to Windows Update and Microsoft Update so that users in the United States will be supplied with the patch as well.
Custom XML parts were introduced in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, along with the Open XML Formats. These formats include new XML-based file formats for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word (such as .xlsx, .pptx, and .docx). Documents in these formats consist of XML files (also named XML parts) that are organized in folders in a ZIP archive. Most of the XML parts are built-in parts that help to define the structure and the state of the document. However, documents can also contain custom XML parts, which you can use to store arbitrary XML data in the documents.
But what exactly is removed from Microsoft Word? Once the patch is delivered Word will not be able to handle custom XML elements in supported files, a feature that is not used by the majority of Word users as its usually used with server based processing of Word documents.
In short: The patch will not affect the majority of end users at all. And if they are using custom xml they can still prevent the patch from being downloaded and installed on their computer system so that the functionality remains.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.