Today, a lot of people are talking about the long-term license agreement ScanBuy entered into with Microsoft for its mobile bar code platform known as Tag (see press release). While that's certainly important news among Microsoft and ScanBuy customers, investors, etc., what I believe is even more important is Microsoft's announcing that it plans to shut down the Tag platform on August 19, 2015.
On the surface, through this announcement, it seems as though the
bar code industry is consolidating with respect to code providers. What I notice, however, is that
the industry is really consolidating with respect to code technologies,
and the winner is the open-source QR Code.
A couple of years ago, we saw the proprietary code platform known as
JAGTAG get bought by Augme Technologies, only never to be seen again,
and I believe the same will happen with Tag, especially now that ScanBuy is
involved. Who will be next, the last remaining proprietary
platform SnapTag? Time will tell.
As a result of the license agreement and the eventual shutting down of Tag, I believe, the barriers to bar code use and adoption will become that much less, for both marketers and consumer alike. Marketers will have an easier time selecting a bar code platform/technology to use and implement, and consumers will find it easier to scan codes, because there will be one less code type to have to recognize and know about.
As great as it is that a winner (i.e., QR Code) seems to be emerging among the various bar code technologies that have been developed and marketed over the past several years, I wonder if this will be short lived given the legal actions NeoMedia Technologies has been taking over the past several months. But, perhaps, that's a topic for another article altogether.