In 2009, Microsoft first announced Tag, a QR code-like technology that let people scan triangle patterns on magazines, labels and more on their smartphones to access extra content. Unlike QR codes, which actually stores the content information in its patterns, Microsoft Tags patterns stored an ID code that sent a signal out to a remote server to obtain the content information when scanned by an app.
Microsoft released Tag applications for Windows Phone, iPhone and Android, but the technology was not nearly as popular as QR codes. Today, Microsoft announced that it will shut down its Tag operations in two years, on August 19th, 2015. Until then, current customers can continue to use Tag codes and generate new ones.
What's even more interesting is that another company, Scanbuy, has reached an agreement with Microsoft to license the Tag technology for use on Scanbuy's own Scanlife platform. Scanbuy has also agreed to take on any of Microsoft's Tag corporate customers that wish to continue to use the technology. Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In an interview with CITEWorld.com, Mike Wehrs, the CEO of Scanbuy, said that Microsoft Tags still have an appeal to some businesses because it is a proprietary technology. He stated, "That means we don’t have to worry about some random person creating a Microsoft Tag code generator and releasing rogue codes with malicious intent."
However, Scanbuy's actions in taking on Microsoft Tag may not sit well with one of its financial backers: Google. Google and Microsoft are not exactly friendly these days and, when asked about Google's reaction to buying Microsoft Tag, Wehrs said simply, "Google doesn’t even know yet." As part of the deal, Microsoft will have an observer sit in on Scanbuy's board meetings with Google's representative and Wehrs admits that Scanbuy's next meeting, which will be held on August 28th, " ... will be an interesting day."