Microsoft has created a new High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) system called Microsoft Tag which contains more information in a smaller barcode and it can have interesting backgrounds.
From your mobile phone, simply snap or scan a Tag image anywhere you see it – in editorials, advertisements, product packaging, signs and storefronts – and gain instant access to Websites, videos, reviews, schedules, contact information, social networks, discounts, promotions and more!
For example, in the latest issues of TV Guide they have MS Tags
[blogs.msdn.com] linking back to their website where the tag is printed on top of the TV Guide logo itself.
TV Guide is going live with Microsoft Tag in their May 3rd issue which is already available on newsstands. The TV listings magazine boasts an audience of more than 15 million and according to its Tag instructions the magazine offers “fantastic videos, like behind-the-scenes footage of last week’s men of NCIS cover.”
Microsoft has free tag readers available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and more available at [gettag.mobi
This is a major move for Microsoft to get their fingers wet binding the real world with mobile and has huge advertising implications.
The MS Tag reader sends the HCCB data to a MS server, which returns the publisher's content, in this case a URL but it also returns vCards. Microsoft provides Tag analytics to publishers since it's servers process all the requests.
Tag creation for both commercial and noncommercial use is also free during beta.
The real question is, when it comes to selling their service will people simply revert back to free QR codes or stick with the more appealing but fee-based service?