Hey, remember that seemingly random patent case from May in which a federal jury awarded a company called i4i Ltd $200 million in patent damages against Microsoft? Things just got worse for Redmond: the judge in the case today issued a permanent injunction against sales of Word 2003, Word 2007, and any future versions of Word that can open .xml, .docx, or .docm files containing "custom XML." Yeah, no kidding -- that's pretty much all of 'em. At issue is i4i's patent on a method for reading XML, and obviously Microsoft's vowed to appeal, so expect this injunction to be stayed pending that appeal in short order -- and also expect Microsoft to eventually either find a way to win or simply pay up, since there's no way it'll let anyone kill Word. We'll see what happens. Word.
Update: CNET has a quick interview with i4i Chairman Loudon Owen, who says that he himself uses Word and that i4i isn't trying to "stop Microsoft's business" or "interfere with all the users of Word out there." It's an interesting read, go check it out.
Update: Not that it should come as a surprise to anyone at all, but Microsoft has confirmed that it'll be appealing the decision.