This could also mean the end to the Microsoft Tag in mcommerce, once and for all.
Just as Apple prepares to unveil its own Passbook QR code based service, it appears as though Microsoft has also focused its attention on mcommerce barcodes, with the help of Neomedia.
That latter company has just announced that it has granted worldwide rights to license its patent portfolio.
Among those to benefit from the 74 QR code patents that are contained within Neomedia, is Microsoft. The financial details of the deal between the two companies have yet to be disclosed. This could be an extremely important move for the quick response barcodes, which have had a rocky start to their existence in the mass market, as mobile marketers scramble to figure out how to best use them to attract and engage consumers.
Critics have stated that the QR code is little more than a silly gimmick.
However, they have shown steady growth in use by both mobile marketers and consumers, and now the big players are beginning to include them into their mix. The Passbook ticket/coupon service by Apple will use the QR code as its central element. This will be an integral part of the upgrades that will be seen in the iOS6, which is expected out later in 2012. This, alone, could broaden the usage everywhere else.
That said, while it is known that Microsoft has entered into this deal for the use of the patents, what is not yet known is how it will be using the barcodes. It has been speculated that the patents are being licensed so that it can use the technology in the development their own future applications. At the same time, others have hypothesized that it could be because NeoMedia approached them due to potential violation of patients in services that already exist, and Microsoft simply wanted to avoid any potential legal hassle.
This would not be Microsoft’s first steps into mobile barcodes. It has had the Tag out for quite some time. Last year, it announced that its Tag reader would also become compatible with QR code scanning – as this appears to be the current barcode standard – as well as with NFC, which should be taking off at some point within the near future.