Microsoft (News - Alert) is often known for its monopolies in certain markets, but one area in which it doesn’t have a monopoly is that of missteps. Every company makes missteps on a regular basis — yes, even Apple (News - Alert) — but for some reason Microsoft is remembered by some more for its failures than its successes.
Maybe it’s because some of the company’s failures are so tremendous, like the Microsoft Kin, which even CEO Steve Ballmer admitted was a bad idea. Or maybe it’s because Microsoft sometimes stubbornly refuses to give up in a market it clearly can’t crack, as was the case with the Zune.
Regardless, such setbacks have ultimately served to make Microsoft stronger, at least in how it handles defunct or struggling products. Take, for example, Microsoft Tag, a type of barcode technology very similar to QR codes that made its debut in 2009 and was expected to receive tremendous success. The technology, a form of High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is actually superior to QR codes in a number of ways as it allows for higher densities of information to be stored in a smaller space, while tracking analytics.
However, as history has proven time and again, it’s not about which technology is superior but rather which catches on. QR codes caught on; Tag did not.
To be fair, Microsoft has enabled Tag reading on Windows Phone (News - Alert), iOS and Android through dedicated apps — in fact, its Tag reader was Microsoft’s first Android app — but a barcode reader needs barcodes to read. As such, official Microsoft Tag support will be dropped as of August 19 2015.
This isn’t the end for Tag, though, as Microsoft has licensed the technology to Scanbuy, demonstrating that Microsoft is sometimes able to turn its missteps into possible sources of revenue. Tag will be integrated into Scanbuy’s ScanLife platform in September, giving current users time to “plan their transition,” according to Microsoft.
Edited by Ryan Sartor