Microsoft Tag Along

Microsoft has metamorphosed their High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) 2d barcode technology (announced way back in April 2007) into a full blown service called Microsoft Tag. You can download Microsoft’s Tag Reader, generate and manage your tags, and view reports for your tags here at the Microsoft Tag Website.

Microsoft Tag is a proprietary 2d code and all urls (or other data) are accessed via a Microsoft server, hence the availability of reports such as, a chart that will show for each tag the number of scans over a period of time, or a “Heat Map” which geographically plots campaign impressions to reveal where tags are being scanned.

The question is of course will Microsoft Tag become the 2d code of choice for publishers? Before trying to answer that question perhaps we should wait and see to what extent Microsoft use the tag themselves.

Anyway here is a POLL, what’s your take?


And just for fun….

Spoof MS Tag poster

6 thoughts on “Microsoft Tag Along”

  1. Why use proprietary technology when you can do the same with free technology and keep control of your solution ?

    I will continue to use qr-codes they are already widely available and free to make.

  2. This is going to play out in a similar way that Blu-Ray v HD DVD did. Microsoft are staking a claim and trying to become the technology of choice for QR codes and the like. They are paving the way for us to be able to snap just about anything (the chair you’re sitting on?) and get info and what it’s made of and of course where to purchase such a fine piece of workmanship (sponsors, add money Here.)

    I’ll be waiting to see, as stated, if MS use the technology themselves. No point investing heavily in a $100m ad campaign using MS Tags only to have them pull the platform, a la Google Print Ads and their 2d codes.

  3. MS owning and controlling this technology would do nothing for the industry. Unless they go open source or make a freely available SDK to make your own tag reader.

    For barcodes to work, they need to be open and neutral.

  4. Tags and their readers are already commoditised. What matters is the sophistication of the back end tag management system that actually enables the tag do something when it is snapped. Who cares whether you use QR codes or Microsoft Tags it’s what you can do and deliver with the tag that counts.

  5. MS Tags are a solution with no problem. They don’t do anything that a QR tag can’t so what’s the point? Admittedly, you can cram a lot more info into the MS tag with the colors and position variables but let’s be honest; people are only using them to launch websites. Can anyone think of a use that would require that much data encoding in the tag itself beyond what an open-source QR tag can do? Once you get the user to a website, you’re done! MS Tags may be prettier than QR but not needed. MS also is speculating on charging the tag creators a usage fee or a per-scan fee as well once the Beta period is complete. If they kept it free and opened the API it might be worth something. But as long as you must use their proprietary (and often buggy) reader and get charged for creating their tags, I can’t see why anyone would choose MS Tags over the free QR tags.

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