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Office 2010

Friday, May 14, 2004

When Beth came to the office door I knew the news wouldn’t be good. High energy and optimism combined to give Beth a cheerful personality, but the look on her face didn’t bode well for the project schedule.

“Well, I’m back from legal,” Beth said. “We have some work cut out for us”.

“What did they say about the latest build?” I asked.

“Big problems with the File commands,” she said, “we have to cut the Import command completely”.

“What?” I asked, dismayed.

“Yep, last year’s ‘SCO versus Corel’ ruling used wording in DMCA III to prevent an application from opening file types registered to another application. It gets worse, though, we will need to cut ‘Save As Web Page’ too.”

“What?” I said, incredulously.

Beth studied a long list of notes on her tablet. “Yep, submarine patents again - small company in Dog Lick, Kentucky has all lossless and lossy picture formats locked up. Until we license some more algorithms we can only render images using 4 bit color bitmaps, but what’s really going to hurt the schedule is the hold up on ‘Send As Attachment’.

“Well,” I said, “Steve and Bill are meeting with President Sheen next week to see if someone can amend CAN SPAM 2009 for us”.

“I hope Charlie can push some senators around,” Beth replied. “The list of approved email clients has been really thin. The ‘Share Over WiFi’ feature has no chance though, and healthcare industry representatives are saying no copies will be deployed unless we allow them a hook into the ‘Open’ command”.

“They can’t do that”, I exclaimed.

“Well, according to the latest HIPPA bill in 2008, healthcare workers need to read, print, and sign an audit form before opening any document which could potentially contain information about a current, past, or possibly future patient, unless the person is standing in the same room with three forms of identification and a notarized release form. Even veterinarians have to be careful now. We have no choice with the current legislation.”

“So what can we have on the File menu?” I asked. “Exit?”

“As long as we RTM before ‘The New Improved PATRIOT Act,” said Beth. “If not, we will need to add the new stealth activity upload.”

“Not a chance of releasing with these setbacks,” I muttered.

”I didn’t even have time to get into the Edit menu with the lawyers,” Beth continued. “I’m sure last month's Supreme Court ruling on the Revised Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act is going to kill the ‘Paste’ command”.

“This is stupid!” I blurted. “Applications don’t copy data, people do!”

“Welcome to software design in 2010,” Beth said, then smiled, picked up her tablet, and strode from the room. I sighed heavily, and whirled my chair around. I opened my bottom desk drawer, and pulled out my bar review notes. “No innovation without litigation,” I thought to myself. Those good old days are gone.