Microsoft pulls Office 2003 from MSDN due to i4i case

Microsoft has taken Office 2003 offline from its MSDN, TechNet, and Expression subscribers.

Company officials blamed the move on the recent court ruling related to a custom XML markup implementation in Word 2003 and Word 2007. All 36 languages of Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003 are affected as subscribers based in the United States see their access cut on January 9.

Microsoft lost their appeal against the Microsoft Word i4i case, where Microsoft was caught using "custom XML" in their software. The court issued that Microsoft stop selling Microsoft Office 2007 with Word in it last month.

Microsoft has already prepared for this scenario, where they will now ship a new edition of Microsoft Office 2007 without the custom XML in Word. The injunction only applies to copies of Office 2007 with Word sold after January 11, 2010. Microsoft planned to release an altered version of Office 2007 before January 11, without the custom XML code. It's not yet clear whether this altered version is available yet.

Copies of Office 2007 sold before January 11, 2010 are not affected, and will still contain the custom XML code technology. Microsoft Office 2010 beta containing Word 2010 does not contain the custom XML code technology and will still be available for download.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson the company does not have a date for when the Office 2003 download restriction will be removed.

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