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Microsoft exec defends RSS rebranding

Renaming to 'Web feeds' spurs debate among bloggers

By Elizabeth Montalbano
August 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - An MSN executive is defending Microsoft's rebranding of RSS into "Web feeds" after a flurry of Microsoft bloggers accused the software giant of trying to recast the Web site syndication technology in its own image.
In a recent post on his Web log "Torres Talking," Mike Torres, MSN Spaces lead program manager, made a clear distinction between the branding of the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology and the underlying technology itself. He also said that Microsoft is adding its own functionality to RSS in the version the company is implementing in Internet Explorer 7. Because of this, its renaming of RSS is not a sign the company is trying to remake the technology for its own purposes but rather a way to make a distinction between RSS and a feature of Internet Explorer.
RSS is primarily used by Web loggers and Web-based news publishers to keep subscribers informed when new blog entries or news articles have been posted to Web sites.
Microsoft is adding RSS functionality to the next version of Windows, Windows Vista, primarily through Version 7 of its Internet Explorer Web browser. The betas of both Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 are available now.
"Just because one team at Microsoft (in this case, the IE team) is grappling with the naming of a single feature in a single product (that does a lot more than just RSS), it doesn't automatically mean we are trying to 'reinvent the technology,'" Torres wrote in an Aug. 9 blog posting.
Torres was responding to a post the same day by Dave Winer in his weblog "Scripting News" that accused big software companies such as Microsoft and Google of messing with technology they did not invent, a move he called "childish and self-defeating."
"Like it or not Microsoft, the technology is called RSS. If you try to change that, for whatever reason, you will get routed around," wrote Winer, a software guru who is credited with pioneering RSS and other Web standards. "Like it or not Google, the format is RSS 2.0. ... Go all the way, and just give it up, and accept the gift, the way it was presented, without trying to edit, revise, fold, spindle or mutilate."

The debate raged on after Torres' response to Winer. In an Aug. 9 entry on his Web log Read/Write Web, freelance analyst and Web writer Richard MacManus wrote that he, too, believed that Microsoft and Google should not mess with the brand because "it's bigger than both of them."

However, he admitted that the companies will probably drive the adoption

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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