Yesterday Microsoft made the not-so-surprising announcement that it would no longer be supporting its…
Yesterday Microsoft made the not-so-surprising announcement that it would no longer be supporting its Microsoft Tag system. Rest easy, all you Microsoft Tag fanatics out there— the technology will continue to live on in the hands of a company called Scanbuy. But Microsoft’s involvement with it will formally end in two years, on Aug. 19, 2015.
The name may not ring any bells, but chances are you’ve seen the garishly colored boxes dotted here and there on the Web or in magazines. Microsoft Tags are/were the software giant’s response to the QR Code, usually (though not always) built out of impossible-to-miss primary colors (cyan, yellow, and magenta) and specifically designed so that the companies that created them could easily track the types of users who were scanning them. It sounded like a good idea, but the technology never took off, undoubtedly due to competition from QR Code and rank user disinterest.
According to Microsoft’s announcement of the shutdown, Scanbuy is “the largest provider of QR Codes,” so the technology is passing into what seem to be good hands. Some have raised eyebrows over Scanbuy’s ownership—it is backed by Microsoft rival Google—but this is such an insignificant part of Microsoft’s business that it’s difficult to get too worked up over the conspiracy theories.
In an interview with CITEworld, writer Nancy Gohring asked Scanbuy CEO Mike West why anyone would want a technology that even Microsoft—notorious for making bad bets like this—didn’t even want any more. West responded that Tag still has plenty of users, and that its proprietary nature was appealing to some big brands: “We don’t have to worry about some random person creating a Microsoft Tag code generator and releasing rogue codes with malicious intent. All the things that QR Codes have as a negative don’t exist with Microsoft Tag.”