Microsoft Nailed...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Microsoft Nailed... the tune of $290 million, an early Christ­mas award from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.

Of course, in Redmond, Washington, such a sum is considered "chump change" by Micro­soft, or Bill Gates' "walk-around" money.

The most recent release of Microsoft Word.

I'm cheering, not so much because I dislike Microsoft, but because the software program at issue is Word, and, in candor, I hate Word!

(And yes, the verdict could always be re­versed or modified by further appeal.)

I was late to the "P.C. explosion" of the mid-'80s, and didn't get my first such device 'til late '93 when my faithful Epson QX-10 went up in a puff of blue smoke after 10 years and two weeks of not always reliable service.

(This was the same machine, and proprie­tary ValDocs software, that Lee Davis, Karl Grossman and I all wrote our Hamp­ton Chronicle-News material on for so many years.)

When I purchased my first P.C., I said I needed some word processing software, and for another $300 came home with a brand-new copy of WordPerfect 6.00 for DOS.

For a month it was all a big mystery to me... from learning to use a mouse to figuring out how-to format my WordPerfect documents.

(It's a curse of the Virgo and our native OCD gene... proper formatting.)

But then I "got it!," and in short-order I was submitting exquisitely formatted manuscripts to the national magazines for which I was writing at the time, and having a rip-snorting good time of it.

I became so proficient at WordPerfect that I even had a contract with the Village of West­hampton Beach to train in its use the office staff... most of whom dug in their one-inch heels at the prospect of moving away from their IBM Selectric typewriters!

(Upstairs in the Court, "Red" Eckart, who viewed the telephone as an instrument of Satan, was a lost cause from the jump, so I stayed on ground level.)

Gradually, the ladies started getting the hang of the program, and all was progressing nicely.

WordPerfect itself underwent some minor tweaks and upgrades, but then two separate cataclysmic events occurred:

  1. WordPerfect was sold, first to Novell in June 1994, and then 19 months later at a fraction of the previous purchase price to Corel.

    Novell should have been taken out and shot like a rabid 'possum for what it did with the best-selling pro­gram and to its millions of users for whom it was the de facto standard word processor!

    Corel did what it could, but during the Novell interlude, Microsoft's Word took over1 like Chinese hordes pour­ing across the Manchurian border!
  2. Bart Wilenski, a Word die-hard, be­came Mayor in 1996, and decreed it would be the municipality's official word processing program2.

The leading word processing program quickly back-slid to a distant second place, and while I have no idea what release is currently in play, I know I've been using WP9 this entire decade.


Because it works for me... it does everything I need a word processing program to do, and, of critical importance, it does what I tell it to do!

Never had that sort of success, or confidence, with Word, and the most recent release I have, the version included with Office 2007, refuses to do what I want it to do!

So why have it on my machine?

I need it to open Word documents I receive, #1, and, #2, it integrates with QuickBooks accounting program, something WordPerfect does not do.

And I too often spend an hour producing and formatting legal documents that would take seven-eight minutes tops 'twere QuickBooks and WordPerfect to also have a meeting of their artificial minds.

So I struggle with the detested Word program when I must, continue to use my decade-old WordPerfect 9 for everything else.

And think unkind thoughts about Microsoft always!

So pay up the $290mm you owe the I4i LP folks up in Toronto... the ones you thought you would bury because, hey!, you're Microsoft!

  1. Not difficult since Microsoft gave away copies of Word with its Windows product on new PCs.
  2. No one was happier than Building De­partment secretary Barbara Seidler who had refused to switch to WordPerfect.


1. Andy said...

Have you heard of OpenOffice? It's free, opens up Word.

The sole issue on that count, Andy, is the integration with QuickBooks.

Otherwise, I'm all over OpenOffice.

2. Surf's Up! said...

I miss WordPerfect and I miss Barbara!

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