By Spencer Swartz
Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software company, on Friday said
it plans to add Really Simple Syndication, a popular technology for
reading news and information on the Web, in its next version of
Known as RSS, the technology invented by one-time arch-rival Netscape
Communications Corp. allows Internet users to track freshly updated
information -- without having to surf through a long list of Web
Microsoft said it wants to reach beyond the current limited audience
of hard-core Internet users by making RSS convenient for mainstream
computer users in its upcoming version of Windows, code-named
The Redmond, Washington-based company is planning to offer a set of
underlying extensions to RSS code that will make it easier for Web
sites to publish lists such as photo albums, music playlists and other
sorts of Top 10 lists as RSS feeds.
Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's manager in charge of RSS, is set to
tell an audience of technology enthusiasts attending the annual
Gnomedex conference in Seattle on Friday of how Microsoft will tie RSS
capabilities into Windows.
Hachamovitch is set to embrace the Creative Commons license backed by
many leading RSS supporters. The license provides looser copyright
restrictions on creative work but stops short of entirely giving up
all claims of ownership.
"That's groundbreaking for Microsoft," Joe Wilcox, an analyst at
Jupiter Research, said of the software giant's embrace of Creative
Commons, which has served as a rallying point for computer users
opposed to Microsoft's industry dominance.
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The RSS capabilities will be embedded into Microsoft's Longhorn
operating system, expected to be released in trial form this summer
and made available to consumers as the next new release of Windows in
"Microsoft wants to make this more than just about getting more people
to use RSS. They want to turn this (capability) into a developer
platform, kind of like what they did with the Web browser," he said.
With the new Windows, users will be able to receive updated headlines
through an illuminated RSS icon with a click of a button.
This in turn will automatically make the selected RSS feeds able to run in
any Windows-based application designed to accept RSS. Microsoft is looking
to encourage outside software developers to build a variety RSS features
into new software.
The move has won the support of Dave Winer, RSS's most tireless
advocate over the years, and Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at
Stanford Law School, the founder of Creative Commons and a sometime
"The people at Microsoft noticed something that I had seen, only
peripherally -- that there were applications of RSS that aren't about
news," Winer wrote on Wednesday at his Web site
"I think what they're doing is cool," Winer said.
RSS has aided the proliferation of Web logs. Blogs, the
easy-to-publish Web sites that allow users to offer quick commentaries
on issues that matter to them, use RSS feeds to stay up-to-date with
other blogs. (with additional reporting by Eric Auchard)
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