Microsoft is shutting down the Microsoft Tag service, the company’s version of a QR code service, in two years.
The service, launched in January 2009, will end on Aug. 19, 2015, the company said.
In the meantime, the service will continue as is through that date, with users able to log in to their Microsoft Tag accounts and to generate new tags.
And Microsoft has chosen Scanbuy, a New York City-based QR code company, to support Microsoft Tag technology on its own ScanLife cloud-based platform. Scanbuy says it will support Microsoft Tag by no later than Sept. 18 this year, and will offer transition services for companies that want to migrate to the ScanLife platform.
Microsoft issued this statement in response to my question about why it’s shutting down Tag:
Microsoft is constantly reviewing its core business objectives and realigning its efforts to match those objectives. Microsoft still believes that Tag is an important digital technology. Running Microsoft Tag as a service, however, does not align with our other initiatives. The opportunity to transition to Scanbuy’s Tag service gives our clients immediate access to more advanced features, great support, and ongoing innovation in the mobile engagement space.
Scanbuy has a price page up for customers migrating from Microsoft Tag, which offered its basic services for free.
Scanbuy has agreed to honor Microsoft Tag’s terms of service for existing Microsoft Tag users, offering a free transition package with basic code activation and usage information, as well as migration of the customer’s historical scans and analytics. (Microsoft Tag will no longer be accepting new customers, said Scanbuy CEO Mike Wehrs in an interview.)
A “basic plus” package, intended for personal and small-business use, is being offered to existing Microsoft Tag customers for $69 a month. There are also enterprise packages, with prices ranging from $1,500 to $50,000 a month, Wehrs said.
Microsoft Tag currently gets about two million scans per month, a fraction of the estimated 100 million scans of commercial QR codes, Wehrs said.
Interestingly, Google is one of the companies that has a significant stake in Scanbuy, having invested more than a million dollars and taken an observer seat on Scanbuy’s board. (Microsoft and Google have been increasingly antagonistic of late over everything from patents to privacy issues to apps on Windows Phone.)
Google found out about Scanbuy taking over Microsoft Tag only after the news was announced today, said Wehrs, who added that he’ll be in Mountain View, Calif., this Wednesday to talk with Google folks about it.
“It should be a spirited discussion,” Wehrs said.