The patch removes the ability to edit custom XML elements. "After this patch is installed, Word will no longer read the Custom XML elements contained within DOCX, DOCM, or XML files," Microsoft said on its website, "These files will continue to open, but any Custom XML elements will be removed. The ability to handle custom XML markup is typically used in association with automated server based processing of Word documents. Custom XML is not typically used by most end users of Word."
This patch has been in the making for a while now, as OEMs were notified of the then-upcoming patch in October of this year. With the release today, OEMs have about three weeks to modify the machines in their channels to comply with the court order.
"With respect to Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007, we have been preparing for this possibility since the District Court issued its injunction in August 2009 and have put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature from these products," said Kevin Kutz, the director of public affairs for Microsoft, in an e-mail to ComputerWorld, "Therefore, we expect to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007, with this feature removed, available for US sale and distribution by the injunction date."
Existing copies of Word do not fall under the ruling, and do not have to be modified.