BT

Your opinion matters! Please fill in the InfoQ Survey!

Web Services as an Alternative to Copy-Protected Software

| by Jonathan Allen Follow 188 Followers on Aug 06, 2009. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Microsoft Tag is an advanced barcode technology. Unlike traditional UPC and ISBN barcodes, which only store numbers, Tag barcodes can store text, URLs, phone numbers, and even virtual identification card. Tag barcodes, while normally open, can even be password protected.

Microsoft envisions their tag technology finding its way onto magazines, posters, consumer products, business cards, and anything else that could be conceivable photographed by a web-enabled mobile phone. While tags normally appear as random patterns of triangles in a 0.75 inches square, the barcode can be overlaid on an image to make them more visually appealing. With a bit of skill, the barcode can disappear entirely.

Currently Microsoft does not make money of the Tag technology itself, though it does reserve the right to charge for commercial uses in the future. Currently it is being freely offered in the hopes of promoting Microsoft’s marketing and advertising services.

In order to create Tag-style barcodes, people have to either use the Microsoft Tag website or their API. Presumably to keep it a trade secret and protect future revenue models, Microsoft isn’t letting the algorithms to generate the barcodes out the door. The Tag API is only available a web service. While this would theoretically make it possible to use the API on non-Windows platforms, it also means it will not work on devices without reliable Internet access.

While this certainly could be a one-time occurrence to support an unusual business model, we may see more of this in the future. While the pressure for all code to be open sourced continues to mount, commercial software companies may see this as a way to make money on their products while entirely side-stepping the debate.

Rate this Article

Adoption Stage
Style

Hello stranger!

You need to Register an InfoQ account or or login to post comments. But there's so much more behind being registered.

Get the most out of the InfoQ experience.

Tell us what you think

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread

Is Microsoft openning up? by Eduardo de Vera

Web Services mean interoperability and that goes against what Microsoft has been practicing during it's lifetime. Are they willing there software to be used from different operating systems? Will they abandon the idea of monopoly?

It's either that or introducing proprietary elements on their web services to make them incompatible with Web Service Technologies that are not MS based.

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread

1 Discuss

Login to InfoQ to interact with what matters most to you.


Recover your password...

Follow

Follow your favorite topics and editors

Quick overview of most important highlights in the industry and on the site.

Like

More signal, less noise

Build your own feed by choosing topics you want to read about and editors you want to hear from.

Notifications

Stay up-to-date

Set up your notifications and don't miss out on content that matters to you

BT