RSS 'repositioned' by Microsoft

A loving embrace

Microsoft is re-branding its implementation of the increasingly popular Really Simple Syndication (RSS) in the next version of Internet Explorer (IE).

In a move likely to unsettle many outside Microsoft, the company said it is actively exploring the right name to use for RSS feeds, with the current working term being "web feeds". The name "web feeds" is currently used to describe initial support for the discovery and reading of RSS feeds in the IE 7.0 Beta 1, which was released this summer. Microsoft is also adding its own technology to RSS, according to reports.

Microsoft is a relative late-comer to RSS, which is quickly becoming the de facto technology for syndicating content for millions of blogs and web sites. IE 7.0 is planned for both Windows XP and Windows Vista, which is due late next year.

Many will be suspicious of Microsoft's plans, coming as they do from a company famed for going its own way on industry standards and technologies. Microsoft has been pushing its own vision for web services standards, partnering with IBM on the WS- stack rather than joining existing or alternative industry efforts.

Famously, Microsoft re-named and "optimized" its implementation of Sun Microsystems' Java language, in a move that saw Sun prosecute Microsoft for breaking compatibility with Sun's official Java specification.

Microsoft, though, is stressing support for all current web feed formats in the IE 7.0 beta. Jane Kim, RSS in IE program manager, said the Beta 1 supports RSS 9.x, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0, with Atom 0.3 and 1.0 support planned in a later release. ®

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