Microsoft, who have been known to patent tiny and sometimes seemingly obvious things (timed mouse clicks for example) while riding on the shoulders of giants who often gave their truly revolutionary discoveries unencumbered by patents, has been bitten by the spurious software patent issue themselves. Microsoft Word it’s been ruled, is in breach of somebody else’s software patent (related to XML tagging). Better yet, an injunction forcing them to stop the sale of such infringing products has been granted also (Word and Vista). This has led to speculation that there may be something to the theory of Karma after all and that what goes around really might come around.
Sadly Microsoft has way too much money for this to make much of an impact on them. They’ll most likely pay the fine (290m), perhaps create a workaround and carry on business as usual. But still, the more money they have to hand out in the US, the EU and anywhere else that dislikes their practices, the more likely that at some point in the future, the board will realize that their version of business as usual isn’t really all that profitable anymore. Read more at Reuters.