Microsoft made a similar argument last week when it filed its motion for a stay of the injunction. Then, Microsoft warned of "massive disruptions" to its sales of Office, as well as those of important partners, and named both Dell and HP.
Dell and HP added their voices to the chorus of implied chaos. "The District Court's injunction of Microsoft Word will have an impact far beyond Microsoft. Microsoft Word is ubiquitous among word processing software and is included on [redacted] computers sold by Hewlett-Packard."
The public versions of both briefs were heavily redacted. Dell and HP said that the deleted material included descriptions of the "contractual provisions governing software changes between Dell [Hewlett-Packard] and Microsoft," as well the their "ability to timely comply with the injunction."
A Dell spokesman and an HP spokeswoman declined to comment further for their companies, with the latter citing company policy not to comment on pending litigation.
A source familiar with the amicus curiae briefs, however, hinted that it would be difficult if not impossible for Dell and HP to meet the October deadline. The companies first must receive new code from Microsoft, test the resulting disk images before using them to format new PC's hard drives, then get those systems into the sales channels and yank existing PCs that included current versions of Word from shelves.
"The 120 days should be a sufficient window" to do all of that, said the source, who asked not to be identified. The possibility exists that Dell and HP would have to pull Office from their PCs, the source acknowledged.
For its part, during the May trial Microsoft said it would take at least five months to work up a Word version that omitted the offending custom XML feature. i4i countered, claiming a fix could be produced much faster than that.
An oral hearing on Microsoft's appeal is scheduled for Sept. 23, after i4i files its response and Microsoft is given a last chance to rebut.