It is one of the largest companies in the world, valued at more than $1 trillion (£840 billion) and is credited with completely changing the face of technology in the office and home.
But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from getting excited about a small plastic reading tool created by a Northampton teacher.
Kate McKenzie has found herself in a trademark dispute with a technology company over her children’s literacy device, Word Windows.
The plastic tool can be placed on a book page to isolate individual words, letters and their sounds in a window to help children and adults with dyslexia.
Shortly before she was due to launch her product in July, Mackenzie, 40, received an email from Microsoft. “I thought I was in the home stretch, but then they contacted me and said they were opposed to the company name and trademark, which was a double whammy,” she said.
“It was clearly scary. My heart just sank. It’s been a two-year process to get to this point, it’s very difficult to bring a product to market with so little funding.
“I just thought, ‘God, what am I going to do now?’ You can’t beat Microsoft if you don’t have deep pockets.”
McKenzie said it would be difficult to change the name of her product as she had already spent money on packaging, branding and production.
thought after the letter, her husband was able to see the funny side of Microsoft lawyers scouring the Northampton suburb.
“He had a bit of a laugh about it,” she said. “Don’t you find it very funny that the giant Microsoft found you in Dastan?”
Microsoft said it “cannot comment on ongoing legal matters.”
Mackenzie decided to create this tool when she struggled with reading as a child due to dyslexia, and her son faced similar challenges.
“The problem with dyslexia methods at the moment is that you take the word they’re struggling with and write it on a separate page. But that doesn’t help someone who’s trying to skim the story and enjoy it, Mackenzie said.
“It does it here and then on the page, so it’s very fast. The English language is made up of a lot of prefixes and suffixes, so being able to pick them out and pick them out very clearly in a book is really helpful.”
Last year, McKenzie received a grant from the Northamptonshire Business and Smart Economy Center to help launch the product.
The tool is recyclable and 30p from every purchase will go to a dedicated community interest campaign to help improve literacy rates in the UK.
“I wanted to try to solve this problem where some kids really fear and hate reading,” McKenzie said. “I hope the product is really successful, but I also really want to really solve what is a really big problem in the UK and maybe in other countries.”