Microsoft is pushing customers to upgrade to the latest service packs for Office, but not for the usual security and performance reasons.
Ten days ago, Microsoft began notifying its volume-license customers that they should upgrade to the latest service packs for Office in order to comply with a patent-ruling against Microsoft.
"It was recently decided in a court of law that certain portions of code found in Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, Microsoft Office Access 2003, Microsoft Office XP Professional and Microsoft Access 2002 infringe a third-party patent.
As a result, Microsoft must make available a revised version of these products with the allegedly infringing code replaced," according to the note.
The customer note did not offer details regarding the specific legal reasons for the patch push. But a public relations official with the company said that the updates were required as part of a U.S. federal court ruling in June 2005 that found Microsoft guilty of infringing on a Guatamalan investors 1994 patent on technology linking Microsoft Access and Excel.